Saturday, May 4, 2013

Reuben's 6th Birthday - Los Angeles Birthday Photographer

A little sneak peek of Reuben's birthday photographs.

Can't wait to share more, but there's a party to organize!

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Reuben's birthday also marked our 1,000th Blipfoto daily entry. Blipfoto

We did it!

He can fly!

We dream that we can fly and my dear darling funny, stubborn boy, you are testament to that.

I'm recalling a time when I was under ten at a magic show. Pulled from the audience, I was sat on a table and mysteriously the legs were taken away. My brother who was somewhat obsessed with magic would drill me for years to come as to how the magic trick was done and this indeed was pre-Photoshop days. It's a good memory.

Today is not only our 1,000th Blip, but my big boy's birthday.

I joined Blipfoto I'd say as an early pro DSLR photographer. I'd been shooting film for twenty years pretty obsessively. It was an activity I enjoined solely by myself, disappearing for hours on end on holiday to lie prostrate in front of the Taj Majal for the perfect mix of light and shadow. I'm fortunate, firstly, as a geographer at uni, to have travelled to more than 50 countries, predominantly in the developing World, Bolivia to India, the Chilean Antarctic and Moscow on a snowy day in September. But it was never an activity I was able to enjoy with anyone else and yet that was also pretty true to how I am as a person, always an observer of life and conversation. Reuben shares that personality trait whereas Callum is the first to strike up a conversation and will ask endless questions with his impressive interpersonal skills. 

Today I feel there's almost too much to say. Reuben, on your 6th birthday, the boy I love, live and adore so greatly, my truest first love and inspiration.

Your start to life is entirely recorded here on our blog, all 1,071 entries of it. When we would reach the highest mountain of medical challenge, excruciating pain and heartache, another Everest would be placed in front of us. Your first 6 months bar 3 weeks near the start were spent in intensive care, wired up, with a ventilator breathing for you. And yet, as I record in Kids in the House, there are joys too in such a situation. I would go to work daily to be with you in hospital. That was my sole purpose along with advocating for your rights, giving you love and a voice. I recall only once challenging whether I was able to be the mother you needed, a natural part of grief. Your sweet little body endured 18 surgeries, two open stop-your-hearts, a tracheostomy and a feeding tube. You bore it all with such courage and only now, 6 years on do you show signs of how it affected you. Seeing a video of yourself aged two when you were unable to vocalise due to your tracheostomy, you cry because you had no "voice". Yet you always had a voice in us dear love and more importantly, your own hands became your voice. You learnt the most incredible of skills, sign language and they would furiously sign away in beautiful notes and tones of their own. Your expressive language was extraordinary and I only have typical development to put that level of expertise into perspective.

So where are you now my love?

Patience, boundless, unthinkable patience.

Stubborn. Ditto, unthinkably stubborn.

I know so much about you yet your thoughts and dreams remain a mystery. Is that not entirely normal? You are your own little man and they are your own preserve and treasure. Little of your life has been private, so perhaps these remain so. 

When your signing hands gave way to vocal sounds and the spoken word, you seemingly instantly migrated from signing words and letters to having such an exceptional level of insight and understanding of phonics and phonetics. It was as if I didn't have to teach you, again, a skill that has only become apparent since witnessing typical development. You would one day read a sound and the next day a word, the end of the week a sentence. What drives you to be so utterly motivated? Your inner strength is immeasurable.

You have such a deep love and understanding of Callum and want for nothing more than to make him happy. Your love for each other is both unsurpassed and unconditional, each annoying the hell out of each other with wrestling one minute and smooching the next. You gain so much joy from physical contact, a beautiful revelation given all the grotesque things that have been imposed upon your body. 

You adore our journeys in the car to new adventures and patiently humour me with my endless life behind the lens. I ask if I can just borrow your glasses and hearing aid for a moment for a shot so that your face and gorgeous eyes can shine through and your oblige me. You want to please me. Well, only when you don't want to leave me in a pool of terrible impatience because you don't want to please me. You want to make me suffer ;-)
Your body may have so many barriers to ultimate sporting and physical fulfillment, but you overcome that with being a dab hand at Tball and hey, you just scored your first strike in bowling. 

So this is our continued journey. I just have too much to say right now. So perhaps instead I can offer something inspirational re photography and Blip.

If you want to be good at anything, you really have to put in the leg work. And go back to the masters. I spent decades in museums and galleries, studying the history of photography. I lived for those moments. Looking at contemporary's work has been a relatively new thing for me. Practice every day. And I mean every day. And believe in yourself and what you do. Find your own style and refine it. No leading will ever come from following. But get away too from too much following. Action will get you much further than a tonne of inspirational blogs. You just have to work it out for yourself. 

And dearest Blipfoto, what can I say? Thanks for being such a great place to socialise. I'll have to credit you ultimately, for making me realise that photography does not have to be such a solitary activity. I'm an introvert by heart. I just didn't realise that anyone had the same feelings of passion, excitement and obsession with photography. Slightly dumb I guess. But that's me.

So, til the next 1,000 and all those holes to be filled in our journey which makes it less like a fine Stilton and more like a holey Edam.

Oh and by the way. If you can tell me how indeed I flew on that table way back then, I'd love to know.

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