If only for a moment.
I was recently at a close friend's house for a late afternoon bbq/birthday party. The music was good, the food was great. The kids were all having fun in the huge backyard. The older kids playing wiffle ball, the tots riding in electric cars. It was the perfect summer eve.
My cousin's son was riding in a John Deere electric car, and decided to pick up my daughter for a ride.
As you may know my camera travels with me everywhere regardless if I use it or not. As I arrived at the party I thought, "Tonight I'm going to relax"! I placed my camera bag on the patio, which was close, but far enough away that it wasn't expected of me to start shooting.
That quickly changed as my cousin's son picked up my little girl in his shiny electric car. She hopped right in and he drove her around for a quick minute. My wife, knowing something great was going to happen, yelled in her loudest library voice, "Get your camera!". The young man's mother, my cousin immediately keyed in and joined my wife. I felt like I had the football and was running in for the winning touchdown with those two cheering me on!
Both moms knew something cute was going to happen. It was impossible not to. They knew that they wanted to make the moment last forever. They knew that in 20 years from now they can look at the finished photo that I made, and immerse themselves in the same feeling they had on that perfect summer eve.
They were right! The little guy pulled a Mr. Costanza and leaned in for a kiss! The light of the setting sun was perfect. He had stopped the car long enough so that I could achieve perfect focus while maintaining a shallow depth of field (the blurry background you all keep asking about). It was the perfect set up.
Perfect light, perfect white balance, perfect everything. Except this little guy was trying to kiss my daughter! I worked through my rage and Daddy's little girl made me proud!
She pulled away at the last second and looked for approval. Now my heart was breaking for my poor little cousin. Uggh the rejection of being denied a first kiss!
I took a second to look over the lens of my camera to give my lil girl a wink. She still had daddy's heart. She knows it too. Hence the big smile. Poor lil guy is trying to figure out what went wrong.
Although the narrative is fun, they didn't exchange kisses. It was so adorable to watch. I couldn't ask for a better little guy from such a wonderful family to take my lil girl on her first car ride.
The best part about these images is they have the ability to take me right back. I can almost hear Sinatra playing in the background, the aroma of the burgers on the grill. The sound of laughter from everyone who was watching this drama unfold.
That's what happens when a photographer creates an image. It's not just taking a pic. It's creating an image. Telling a story. The ability to take you from where you are now, to where you were. Bringing you back to experience that beautiful memory, if only for a moment.