When my friend Lindsay told me her son was going to be a pirate for Halloween, my brain started spinning in overtime. I immediately had an image in my mind and I set about trying to bring it to life. I knew it would be challenging, but I was too excited to be anything but optimistic. Luckily, Lindsay is game for almost anything and thus the planning began. Lindsay found the perfect “treasure chest” to use as a prop and filled it with “pirate treasure.” I called my grandmother and asked if we could shoot on her land at Dauphin Island, ensuring we would have a private area of beach in which to shoot. The day of the shoot arrived and the weather was perfect. We loaded up the car and off we went.
I’m going to be totally honest. This was an ambitious shoot. We took a three-year-old boy to the beach, counted on him wanting to don a costume while there and wanted him to pose for pictures. Talk about high expectations! On top of that, we encountered our fair share of obstacles en route to our location, but that afternoon, as the sun began to set, magic happened. Suddenly, the boy who was initially more interested in playing in sand than wearing a costume, wanted to play make-believe. We imagined an old piece of driftwood to be his ship. “Defend your ship!” I told him. “Protect your treasure!” Surprisingly, this made the costume seem fun. He wanted to put it on and pretend to be a pirate. For a fleeting 15 minutes he was a pirate! I shot like crazy. Moving around as quickly as possible, trying to not get soaked by the water. The tide began to rise, bringing the water’s edge closer to where I was standing. The sun was quickly sinking below the horizon and before I knew it, he was done. The little boy returned and the games were over, but the photographs remain. The first shot below is what I had hoped to create.
Just like those brief 15 minutes of shooting, sometimes childhood seems fleeting. Little boys and girls soon grow out of make-believe. In the last photo of the series, I was reminded of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The children that didn’t want to grow up. What if this fleeting time passed and there were no photographs? What if this age was forgotten? It’s more than taking pictures. It’s about capturing the feeling of childhood, the fun of make-believe and the innocence of a child’s imagination. These are the stories I love to tell through photography. These are the fleeting moments I seek to preserve.
Enjoy and Happy Halloween! 🙂
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