When I was a young boy, my father was fond of saying, “You’re the hope of tomorrow.” This always made me uncomfortable. I just wanted to be a kid! What was he expecting me to do? Would I disappoint him? Now, a few decades later, I have a different slant on my dad’s expression.
Recently, I’ve had wonderful shoots with young children. At Waveny Park in New Canaan, in the late fall, I photographed two brothers, Ben (age 3) and Zach (age 1 1/2). Last week, in my studio, I shot two sisters, Lucy (age 5) and Clara (age 2 1/2).
I’ve had the privilege of working with both sets of children before. It’s fun to watch them grow and change – and change pretty rapidly at these young ages.
When I photograph an adult, say, for headshots for social media, the shoot tends to be fairly orderly and serene. I can suggest, “Drop your chin just a bit – a half an inch or so.” With kids, of course, you work with what they give you. The spontaneity and fun of these shoots is actually very good for me. Kids help me to go with the flow of the moment. I shoot a lot of pictures and the “keepers” happen when you least expect them.
Occasionally a kid has a meltdown. (It’s never happened with any of these four, of course.) This doesn’t bother me in the least. We’ll take a break, maybe look for a new toy of theirs or mine, and wait for a better moment – which usually happens pretty quickly.
In photographing children, there’s a lot to be said for using a light hand – just waiting for the precious moment and not trying to plan it or pose the kids. More and more, I’m taking the same approach when shooting adults – and it’s working.
When I take pictures of kids, I often try to imagine what the world will be like when they grow up. These four kids will start college in the years 2026 to 2031. What kind of world will we have then? How will these young people shape the world they inhabit? The year that ends today has been difficult and heartbreaking for so many people. And yet, somehow, I am optimistic about the future. With terrific kids coming along like these four, the future is bright. Ben, Lucy, Zach and Clara are bursting with energy, enthusiasm, smarts, joy and love. Although I won’t say it to them, I believe this for each of them: You’re the Hope of Tomorrow.
Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.