Day in The Life family photography | Documentary Family Photography in Dorset
Izzy & Geoff
This was supposed to be a personal project – a ‘serious’ documentary about the blood, sweat, and toil of livestock farming. It ended up being, for the most part, a story about a little girl and her grandfather…
…It has got a lot of sheep in it though…(or rather, “babies” as Izzy calls them)
Who? What? Where? When? Why?
These are the questions that we’re supposed to try and answer as part of the visual storytelling ‘thing’ that is documentary family photography.
Who are these people?
Why should I (you) care?
The thing is, I dropped the ball.
These images were shot some months ago, then life ‘got in the way’ and I felt it was too late to do anything with them. The intention was to spend the day on the farm, during high lambing season, dawn until dusk, so I could document ‘the circle of life’, or some-such romantic, gritty, life-affirming notion; lambs being born, new life, raw and visceral – the hard labour, etc. etc.
This post would then be written while the day was still fresh in my mind so I could accurately describe the ‘true’ nature of what the day was like.
Unfortunately, I have an appalling memory. Everyone says that, but mine truly is abysmal. To the point that friends sometimes stare in disbelief when they’re recounting something we’ve done together and I don’t remember a thing about it.
It’s not ideal.
So when I didn’t write about this day quickly enough I knew that I’d struggle to remember the details. I nearly gave up on posting these pictures entirely as I couldn’t remember enough about the day to do justice to the people in the photos.
But actually, that’s kind of the point of these images – life ‘gets in the way’ sometimes.
It’s not always possible to carry our memory that far. It’s unlikely that Izzy will be able to remember these specific moments with her Grandad when she’s much, much older.
But she will have these.
How it was with her Grandad back then. How upset she used to get when he left for work, looking at the paper with him, feeding ‘the babies’ with him, how he loves her and the connection they had. And she can show them to her children too.
And that’s the nature of documentary family photography. It’s a legacy, of sorts.
Despite it being the middle of lambing season, no lambs were born while I was at the farm.
I’m glad of it now.
I might not have seen these moments otherwise.