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Life Among the Legs

I loved my childhood.  Aside from the interminable torture of school, I ran wild and free.  My imagination was boundless; the backyard was my kingdom and I was Princess Leia.  I rarely watched TV, and I would cram all my homework into every spare second between subjects in school, so my time was just that:  Mine.  Glorious, joyful, autonomy.  I would fight to avoid baths, my hair was dirty, my legs were covered in welts - it was awesome.

Once I became a teenager and started mooning around, miserable from the power of hormones, paralyzed by all the thoughts and yearnings banging around my brain, I pretty much forgot about all that.  

And then, eventually, I became a mother.

Welcome back, childhood.

Looking at the world of children with adult eyes, the old non-conformist, anti-establishemnt girl inside me is outraged.  Most first world kiddos are lucky if they get 3 years at home to just play before they are put into some kind of school; depending on where you live, social pressure has you in some kind of organized activity practically from birth, and don’t even get me started talking about electronics.  I felt sick at the idea of sending my daughter to pre-k for three mornings a week, but I did it for two reasons:  I knew her kindergarten would be a full day, and I wanted to ease her into that, and also in spite of my strong rebel attitude I do believe just as strongly in education.  So, off she went.  And the following year to kindergarten for an astonishing 7 hours a day at age 5.  Homework, too.  It broke my heart.  

Where is there time for childhood?  Where has it gone?  Why do they need to play with our phones, anyway? Time passes, quickly; in my opinion, youth should to be encouraged, drawn out, savored.  I’ve noticed that my own child is happiest when she is dirty, free of schedules and rules and people telling her what to do.  We count the days until school holidays in my house; it’s a time when happiness abounds, when we wad up the calendar and throw it away.

In my post-baby, getting-older, overly-sentimental state, I started looking for the pure life of these beautiful, miniature human beings with my camera.  I don’t remember the adults around and above me when I was small; I have no memory of my life among the legs, although I do remember occasionally grabbing the wrong one.

I looked, and here is a sample of what I have found so far. This project is ongoing for me, and a lot of fun to work on, not just as a photographer but also as an observer of human nature. It’s interesting to see how children interact with the reality of adult life, the waiting, standing around, talking, shopping.  The undercurrent of pedestrian life is important.  One day, they will grow up and change the world.

This project is ongoing.  The "full" set of photos can be seen in a folder on my website.