Pictures of Other People’s Kids (Playtime at Catch Air!)


I take a lot of pictures of Emma Vance. It’s a given–if I’m there, most likely my camera is, too. However, I do have to admit that it can be a bit uncomfortable…

You see, I’m happy to document my little one’s childhood. It’s become a hobby, a disciplined hobby, that I earnestly enjoy. I say “disciplined” because if I don’t edit the pictures I’ve taken right away, I never will. I know from personal experience (and from friends’) that downloaded-then-ignored pictures will never be revisited and are thus useless. (Thankfully, blogging has cured me of my procrastination in this area!) Let me just publicly recognize thatI’m NOT a photographer, nor do I think that my pictures are anything special (believe me, I know that all of my photographer friends must cringe when they click through to my blog! ;) ), but I am relatively consistent in taking them. The problem arises when we’re in public or with people we don’t know well. I’m constantly wondering what the etiquette is in those situations…

For example, we took a trip to Catch Air (an indoor play space that’s toddler-friendly) the other day with a friend of E.V.’s…and some acquaintances. Thankfully we’re close enough to E.V.’s friend and mom to know that pictures of Kensleigh are usually okay (although they never seem to actually play together, go figure!), but it’s always awkward with people we don’t know well. I try to ask if it’s okay or if they actually want pictures of their little ones (I sure would), but it’s hard to give them a true chance to say “no.” (I mean, if an acquaintance asks you permission for something, isn’t it just naturally uncomfortable to say “no?”) In fact, sometimes it’s just easier to not take pictures with other kids in them than it is to have that conversation.

It gets even more complicated when we’re in a public place with a lot of kids; I feel like I need to wear a sign that says, “I’m NOT a pedophile! Just busy documenting MY kid’s childhood!” The one thing that works to my advantage? I’m female (and, right now, pregnant), which I think makes me naturally non-threatening. Could you imagine the glares and mass hysteria that a bearded guy (like Ryan) with a camera amongst children would cause?!? It makes me chuckle to even think of it, especially since Ryan is one of the kindest, non-creepy guys I know. ;)

All that to say, there are a lot of missed moments that I regret simply because of the awkwardness. In looking back on all of these Catch Air pictures, it looks like Emma Vance was the only kid there when, in fact, the place was actually jam-packed! (It was the MLK holiday, so desperate moms everywhere flooded the place.) E.V. was a social little butterfly, diving in the ball pit with a gang of boys, climbing on a giant train table to be in the middle of the action and playing little sister to some adoptive big girls. Although these photos don’t necessarily reflect it, it was a busy, exhausting morning. Oh, well. I suppose next time I’ll be more bold. And, if you’re ever with me and see me clicking away on the camera, feel free to broach the subject, okay? It’ll save me some anxiety.  ;)

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