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Documenting moments

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

About 12 hours after my son was born, my daughter came to the hospital to meet him. For nine months, I had been envisioning a sweet moment where Sylvie held Fenn in her lap, gently stroking his head, giving him a little kiss and saying, “I love you.” Instead, she ignored him and played behind the curtain. To be fair, she was only 3 years old and my expectations might have been a little high. I blame it on the pregnancy hormones. When this scene played out before me, I only had my phone next to me. There was no way I could run across the room, grab my camera, adjust the settings and return to this spot right after I just birthed a baby. And I didn’t need to. This image isn’t about tack sharp focus or beautiful bokeh, it’s about the moment. When I look at this image, I’m immediately transported back to those hours just after my son was born.



This past summer we moved from just outside of Boston, MA to Charlottesville, VA. We didn’t know we would be leaving our apartment when I took this sink bath image of my son. I had taken a similar picture a few weeks before but I had cleared the counter thinking he would grab everything in sight. This time I didn’t touch a thing: the pile of dishes, the formula can, the bottle drying rack, sage from a friend’s garden. I left it all and I’m so glad I did because each element of the photo serves as a jumping off point to an even larger memory. Our sink is never clear of dishes. Ever. We cook a lot and that is the evidence. The formula and bottles take me back to the struggles I had with breastfeeding. The sage from my friend reminds me of the conversation we had about how to cook with sage. Let’s just say, we didn’t get very far. But it looks pretty in a vase!



This image perfectly summed up our 2017 and was featured on the front of our holiday card (I know it's March, bear with me). For the back we chose images that show our family's personality, our values, our challenges and our triumphs. Together we celebrated countless big moments (birthdays and moves) and the small ones too (playgrounds and dance parties). Those are the images I choose to share on my Facebook page, my Instagram account and my holidays cards. And in case you're wondering why I'm talking about holiday cards in March, it's because it took me a whole year to LIVE these moments with my family!




It's only March, you have 9 more months to document your family's moments. Make a folder on your computer. Call it "2018 Favorites." From time to time, drop your favorite pictures into that folder. At the end of the year you'll have tons of images that are more than holiday card worthy. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for you and your family!


© 2019 by Karyn Novakowski, Documentary Family Photographer