Do you have a favourite picture from your childhood? I think my favourite would be the one where I am standing in the garden of my Granddad's summer house and I am holding a bunch of harvested corn. It always makes me smile. I look ridiculous - a little girl dwarfed by this huge pail of corn! But I treasure this photograph so much because you can see the family summer house where I spent every summer as a child, and it takes me back... I remember my granddad asking me to help him, and feeling so proud and grown up to have been entrusted with this task. Looking at it now as a photographer, I can see that this funny, faded black and white photo is also technically very good: my dad took it on his Zenit camera that gave it beautiful film depth and lovely mood.
I was born in the 80's. In my family home there are huge albums bursting with the valuable and meaningful photographs that my parents took care to preserve, documenting our whole lives. Since we were kids my brother and I would constantly look at them. Over and over again... and I never got bored of them.
What will children born in this era of digital cameras and iphones have to look at? What will be their favourite photograph amongst the millions of generic snaps and "selfies" that the child will be too bored to look at - or even worse will be forgotten because they were never printed, were never burnt to disc or even uploaded to a computer? Or lost forever when mum lost or swapped her phone for a better model.
I do not intend to criticise digital or smartphone photography (I shoot digital - I take "selfies" too, and random snaps of flowers and silly throwaway things I want to share with my friends). Rather, I write this to encourage you to start actually documenting your life and your child's life with really meaningful photographs just like people used to do pre-Instagram.
You can go a step further and ask a photographer to take you on a family photo shoot like this little girl's parents did. These photos will forever remind them of a trip to London with their daughter: how she looked just before her 2nd birthday; how Regent's Park was in all its glory - blooming, colourful and beautiful, and they will remember little Lena smiling, running away, smelling flowers and chasing pigeons. These photographs are for you Lenka. I hope that amongst these pictures I took of you you will find your favourite childhood photograph.