Our family histories are rich in details, and our children’s lives are ever-present in the physical evidence that exists ALL OVER our homes —— which is why if I come to your house, at some point you’ll likely find me taking photos of the things on the floor in your kids’ rooms, the artwork on your walls, and even the array of shoes that live in your entryway.
And although their messes drive us crazy at times, those piles and collections and scraps of paper are visual reminders of how important the art of childhood play really is. The wooden kitchen is where hundreds of cakes have been baked over the years. The completed Lego set resting proudly on the shelf is the first thing they ever bought with their own money. The scattered desk has served as a maker station for countless inventions, comic books, and sewing projects.
Their need and desire to play is in everything they write and draw and build with their hearts and hands. And while we can’t (and shouldn’t!) try to save it all, the magical mess of childhood is certainly worth preserving.
So before I tell my growing-too-quickly kids (ages 2, almost 5, and almost 8) to hurry up and clean up this week, I toured my house with camera in hand for some snaps of the things that make their personalities shine. No staging, just real life ….
Tammy Bradshaw is a Philadelphia area documentary family photographer. If you're interested in having your story brought to life, please get in touch!