I remember pouring over the family albums regularly when I was a child. My mum was a stickler for printing and inserting her photos in an album or plastering frames all over the walls of our house. Being the eldest of four children, I LOVED looking at all our shared adventures together, the fun we used to get up to, the friends we knew along the way and the exotic places we all travelled together.
(I don’t so much enjoy the 80’s fashion sense or the maHOOOOsive hair though!).
((Actually the BIG hair wasn’t an 80’s fashion choice, it was just my own follicular challenge / hell!))
I know some of those albums intimately, I know the stories behind the image and can recall my parents telling me funny anecdotes for many of the pictures. (If we meet up after the lockdown, remind me to tell you the story about my profiterole wonder!! LOL!)
But THIS image has always stuck out in my mind…
(Yes, this little cutie in the dress and nappy combo – and the cool, cool shoes – is yours truly! I was a cute kid wasn’t I?!! LOL).
For some reason, I believed for years that I was totally on my own in this picture. Note there is no-one except me in this image. Therefore, I WAS on my own – it never occurred to me that there must have been a mum or dad shape figure pressing the shutter button! Nope, I was on my own – and I used to wonder; what was I doing on my own? Where was I going, all dressed up to party? And where the hell where all the responsible adults? (Perhaps this explains my loathing of being left alone somewhere on my own for too long when I was a teen?!)
(Doh – I promise, I AM a professional photographer, I do know how photographs and cameras work now! LOL)
Fast forward to the current pandemic and I spent some time at my mum’s last year (all social distancing parameters in place of course) and one of the things she has been doing whilst isolating is ‘redoing’ all the old albums, refreshing the dog eared pages, sticking errant polaroids down again etc etc – and we had a bloody good wander down memory lane together. I haven’t seen some of these images for years and years (and years!) but they were just as familiar to me as they always were. And of course, I came across my own Memory Lane image above (that’s what I’m calling it from now on, I like that!) and I explained to my mum that I had always believed that I was all totally on my little ownsome here!
You see, kids have such fantastic imaginations. What was I thinking? My mummy was a caring and protective mother and I’m pretty sure she would never have left me all on my own, at least not whilst I was still in nappies! So what had gotten into my mind? I still can’t explain the feeling of dread when I used to look at this cute photo, wondering what on earth was happening to little Sally-kins. I honestly can’t remember how my juvenile brain explained this apparent lack of parental supervision but anyway…
The point I’m trying to make is that kids have extreme and wondrous imaginations (talk about going round the houses 42yr old me!). And it’s these fantastical adventures I want to tap into with my Whimsy portrait art. Something that seems almost realistic but can’t be, dreamlike but at the same time real enough to make you stop and say ‘huh’, I guess that could happen – and how amazing it would be if it did!!!
“I guess that could happen – and how amazing it would be if it did!”
This is what Life of Whimsy is ALL about. Realistic unrealism of dreamy childhood imagination.
Later in the series, I’ll share some of my template ideas that form the backgrounds of Life of Whimsy and how I came up with the ideas.
See you on the whimsy side,