This photo is part of my ongoing personal project to document my family. I began this project last summer, after moving to Detroit I was closer to family and had more of an opportunity to spend time with them. My first camera was the Canon AE-1, a very popular film SLR. The camera was given to me by my grandmother when I took my first photography class as an undergraduate. I took my first class for fun, I thought I could learn to take better snapshots and it would be easy. It was easy, but I learned to go beyond the snapshot and got hooked on photography pretty quickly. Something clicked. Well, the shutter clicked of course, but I mean something clicked in me. I saw the world differently, I began to frame photographs in my head even if I didn’t have a camera with me. Now I look up when I walk around, I look from the sky down to the ground noticing all the details in between, all within a frame.
My grandmother used that AE-1 for many years as the family documentarian. She faithfully documented family events and happenings from the childhoods of her 5 children to the childhoods of her 15 grandchildren. Photos of us eating were popular, as well as winter photos outside and photos by the lake in the summer. Each photo was printed and placed in a photo album, every photo with a caption. In the photo albums there are even photos of grandchildren sitting around looking at the albums, marveling over how young we were, how bad 80′s hair was, how funny my grandmother was as she wrote out those captions.
(Photo by Barbara Otto)
My grandmother was not a professional photographer, but she had a lot of experience at what she did best, documenting her family. I recently scanned many of her photos after getting back into photography and found some gems. Photos that went beyond the snapshot, where she caught the light beautifully and captured that decisive moment.
Now that I’m spending time with family, I tend to photograph my five-year old niece quite a bit. I doubt I’ll ever have children and having her to spend time with is enough for me. It’s great to be a part of her life and witness childhood from a different perspective.
More of my family photos here: http://amysenese.com/personal