The night before my eldest son and I travelled to Amsterdam for two days he sent me via text message a ‘cease and desist order’. He is 13. I suspect only the abbreviated version needs relaying; henceforth, I should stop taking any photographs of him unless I was prepared to pay him – a lot! At his age he’s a far more aggressive business person than I could ever hope to be, although I have explained in the past that as a photographer it’s quite useful to be able to share personal family images from time to time. As marketeers will tell you, nowadays selling one’s services requires a story of some sort. Excuse me, but surely ever since the day and night that was his 22 hour-long entry into the world, I have paid sufficient in the form of mammary produce and sleep deprivation, not to mention anxiety – fuelled by thoughts of various emotional mines I’m inevitably laying down in preparation for some overzealous therapist to unearth in years to come.
Thankfully, without much or any persuasion from me – as is his adolescent wont, he seemed to understand that it would have been a shame not to record our travels, and in the end he was quite amenable about image-making. Phew! We had such a nice time, I’d have been quite sad to have only the option of street photography by which to remember our brief adventure.
At 13, I understand that he needs to flex his adolescent muscles, and is very much on the cusp of a whole new era which will be a challenge for everyone at times, most of all him. Already he is taller than me, and the hormones are beginning to run riot as promised by popular tales of teenage angst. To confuse us all, at times he is incredibly grown-up and sensible, which is always reassuring and gratefully witnessed by everyone involved. However, I do like it when out of the blue he does something which reminds us he is just a little boy and still in need of his adult people. I won’t embarrass him by revealing the details, but rest assured, these moments do happen, and I just love them.
I’ve plenty of photography away from my family coming up in the weeks and months ahead, and will be sharing as always. But in the meantime here are a few moments from my recent travels, family and street shots included, published with unreserved thanks to my growing-up little boy.
All images (c)SJField 2017
Images at artists’ space W139 including work by Lydia Balke, Edward Krasiński at the Stedelijk Museum , along with various streets and interiors in Amsterdam.