Protect your eyes

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." -Thoreau

With parenting I find it's never the stuff I plan to be rewarding, fulfilling, or fun that actually is so. The cute Easter photo I plan for every year of the kids in their finery is a total flop with no one looking at the camera and chocolate stains running down Flynn's shirt. The unique dining experience at an ethnic restaurant is disastrous from start to finish full of whines and pulled faces, and in the end, hungry tummies. The surprise trip to a restaurant to get breakfast in their pj's freaks my kids out and makes them feel self conscious like they've been seen naked by thousands. Like most things in life the stuff that evolves naturally tends to be what's most awesome and authentic.

I was downloading some photos off our camera tonight and ended up entranced looking at the literally hundreds of photos Cleo has taken over the past couple weeks. She's been really interested in the camera lately and we've given her free reign with it. I'm so glad we did because the kids got an eye! Her photos capture a world I can't see that much of anymore; a world where every single thing is worth looking at. Call it the curse of adulthood this inability to truly see. The whole lot of Cleo's shots capture the completely mundane. There are almost no posed or even composed shots, just snip snapping away at everything that surrounds her without regard to some hierarchy of what image/thing/view is of value or prettier or more worth capturing. Car decals, her hand, cracks in the pavement, fabrics, the back of my head, city views...nothing is edited out and because of this the shots tell such a great story.

One of the central tenants of physics is that by observing something it necessarily changes that which is being observed. I felt that interplay in looking at Cleo's shots. By her singling out these random, mundane moments and objects of life and capturing them in a photo, she changed them, distilled them into art or memory or something altogether more, something that made me feel a connection to her, and to a child's world view. It was refreshing to retreat back to that place of easy awe. That's another uncanny truism of parenting in my experience...kids will always teach you the bigger lesson, not vice versa! So enjoy these photos. They are original Cleo Louise Harbertsons...and you'd better believe I'm keeping them.


  1. I love it! I'm always surprised and delighted when I find pictures on my camera that Lucy or Violet have taken.

    It was great to see you last night :) I'm looking forward to brunch!

  2. Love seeing what photos Sophia takes. It's the most amazing window into her mind, seeing what catches her eye and what she thinks is important enough to document. Nice shots Cleo, keep it up!