South London Photographer: The start of a new era and another baby!

Last week as I walked away from big boys’ nursery school, having just dropped my youngest son off, No 1 said to me, “So, this is the first time in nearly 12 years you will be free…” I don’t know what to say about the fact that at the tender age of eleven he had decided his presence no longer counts in the mix of small boys I am responsible for, but anyway, I did try to answer at the time without twitching and also maintaining a clear and reasonably calm modulated voice, “YES!!!”   Not that I was excited by the prospect of a few hours of daily uninterrupted work time available to me from now on, or anything. Oh no, I’m lying. I was!!

Later that day Son No 3 who had waved me away so cheerily that morning, and with so much confidence and a genuine sense of happy independence, put his head in his hands over supper and moaned, “I haven’t got a life!”

Oh, my god, I thought. One day at school and he has obviously realised that this is it for him; the start of a life long journey, which for many of us is made up of going to school, then possibly university, then work, then retirement followed only by the inevitable end.

I was just about to quote Woody Allen, who’s alter ego Alvy Singer, says in the opening gambit of Annie Hall, “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon” followed by “so stop your wailing small boy and make the most of it!” when I noticed the plastic cutlery he had thrown on the floor ….

…Aaaah, yes, he wasn’t actually having an existential crisis. He simply can’t pronounce the word ‘knife’ properly and was merely expressing his sadness about the fact that he (and no one else, take note) threw his knife on the floor and was really quite annoyed that it hadn’t magically jumped back up on table ready for his grubby little paw to grab hold of.

Phew! I mean I do like a thinker and all, but there is a limit and succumbing to the futility of a modern, Western, materialist-driven existence when you’ve not reached your 4th birthday is under-stepping the mark, surely. I don’t think he can have overstepped it at this stage, but of course I may be wrong. And actually, even if I do say so myself, he looks to have a fantastic life from where I’m sitting, which at that time was not as near as he was to the knife/life he’d discarded, and so I said to him, “Well, pick up the knife you’ve belligerently and churlishly chucked on the floor then.  And your problem will be marvellously solved!” He did.

This morning Son No 1 started secondary school and so now I truly do have a great deal more time than I’ve had before to get on with work and studies, and, oh yes, that other murky thing I don’t quite get…domesticity. Yes, time for that too. I have a million things to do though before I begin balling socks and folding clothes; such as editing clients’ baby and wedding photos as well as setting up a blog for my new course, which all come at the top of the list.

Last week I photographed a little boy who was just 5 weeks old. His mummy and daddy look like they’re doing amazingly – They won’t believe how fast it all goes. I remember so very clearly, like most parents, bringing home Son No 1 for the first time and wondering what on god’s earth I was meant to do next.  Thankfully, almost twelve years later the two of us are able to muddle through together, which sometimes results in minor scrapes and mishaps, like this morning when he left his brand new school bag on the doorstep at home, as we drove off to the start of his first day. “Oh, crap!” he announced when he realised and we were already half way there.

Here are some of the images from the baby shoot. I love these jobs and I do absolutely adore babies. But having tasted what is now nearly 4 hours of my newfound freedom I am certain that photographing other people’s tiny people is the way forward. My latest baby is my photography and that is just perfect for me.

SJ x

(c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015

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South London Photographer: What’s so great about photographing babies?

Everything!!

I love, love, LOVE taking photographs of newborns. It’s such a precious and fleeting time. When I am around tiny people who are only a few days old I am reminded in quite a visceral way of my own babies’ early moments.

Don’t tell the new mums but you know, they don’t stay tiny newborns for long and the wonder of being vomited, defecated and urinated on regularly does begin to wear thin. It isn’t long before they develop language and learn to tell you that they hate you – it’s devastating when it first happens but by the third child you will have developed a thicker skin, and if you were in a particularly childish mood you might even stick your tongue out and say back to them a little sarcastically  – “I don’t care!!”  They also hold their hands over their ears when you sing and then they scream, “No! Don’t make that noise” (and even start crying – geez, it’s not that bad!); they drop entire boxes of cereal on carpets that were just cleaned by a very lovely, helpful man called Stuart* who had only just finished the job of removing all the grime twenty minutes earlier, and which they were responsible for in the first place; they lose their homework and then blame you – actually, they blame you for every little thing that goes wrong in their lives; they climb on your head when you’re sleeping and demand that you get up at 5.30 in the morning – “but it’s da cwack ‘a dawn!!!” – which is precisely why, you tell them, they should still be sleeping. They scream and cry and bawl for literally no reason at all sometimes.

But they’re sweet occasionally too. Son No. 1 has taken to telling me I’m the best mummy in his whole wide world. Son No. 2 thinks I’m the softest mummy ever – damn, he’s right, no wonder they’re so feral. And this morning son No. 1 decided he would make me a cup of tea and some toast in bed. Aaaah – so sweet. It was all his idea, although it has to be said I was being charged for this treat – £2, and I think he felt a little exploited by that. Unfortunately for me he actually dropped and broke the cup on the kitchen floor, along with half a sliced loaf and a collection of plastic cutlery. Happily, there was no tea in the cup at the time, nor could there ever have been since he didn’t put any water in the kettle prior to boiling it. He still wants paying though because apparently none of that calamity was his fault. I imagine it was mine, sitting in my bed upstairs with no tea but plenty of hope and expectation.

I managed to escape briefly on Friday evening when I went to the Swaffield PTA Quiz night. So much fun! I thought Michael, Quiz Master from our great local, The Old Sergeant, was terrific and he even asked some questions I knew the answers to. Woo hoo!  Thank you very much to the fantastic PTA for a brilliant evening.

The mummy in these pictures has all of this to look forward to. There is so much to learn. One thing I would say to new mums is, if you are reading any kind of parenting book that makes you think the methodology contained within it is the only way, chuck it out with the dirty nappies. In the meantime know that the hormonal storm that’s currently battering your entire being gives way to all sorts of weather; calm, breezy, temperate moments as well as wet, wild torrential periods too.  There are times when you want to literally throw them across the room but there is also joy, laughter and lots of fun. No wonder, I went “Oh! – so that’s what it’s all about…” after my first child was born.

Very cute baby alert so if you’re prone to broodiness you might want to look away now.

*Stuart the carpet cleaner can be reached on 07908 302437 if your carpet and upholstery are as grubby as mine were.  He’s ever so helpful!

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All images ©Sarah-Jane Field