We Are the Memory Keepers

We Are the Memory Keepers

All photos in this post are by Sharon Troy-Baldwin.
Sharon gifted us a “Day in the Life” session.
Thank you, Sharon!

How do you record family memories?

The year ends.
I start creating a family photo album, sifting through photos from the year that was.
What happy snaps make it into the hallowed photo album Hall of Fame?
Photos of birthdays. Christmas. First times riding bicycles.
The Big Moments.

As a parent, the photo album task is one that I commit to with a strange fervour.
We are the Memory Keepers.

Parenting is a roller coaster of contradictions.
Uplifting. Defeating. Joy-filled.
Bone-crushingly exhausting.
Days filled with memorable moments.
Days filled with mundane moments.

Whilst I love our family photo albums as a record of all the Big Moments, what about those in-between mundane moments?
Those fleeting, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, I’m-gonna-miss-this-one-day moments?

That moment when the sun filters through the back window, catching my golden-haired child as he is immersed in play.
I want to remember that.

The way my eldest arranges her “treasures” into seemingly haphazard collections. In her eyes, however, they are meticulously organised.
I want to remember that.

The way my babe vacuums down food despite only having one tooth.
I want to remember that.

The calm and chaos that bath time brings, signalling the march towards bed time.
I want to remember that.

The way our living space sometimes feels overwhelmingly overrun with little people, pencils, books, emotions and needs.
I want to remember that.

Those little everyday moments.Sharon Troy-Baldwin is a Sydney-based family photographer who offered to capture some of my family’s little everyday moments.
She offers “Day in the Life” sessions that document families just doing their thing. Living their lives. Dealing with the tantrums. Dishing out crackers and apples for the 65th time that day. Being audience to impromptu living room dance performances.

The best bit about the whole experience was that there was no “Look at the camera. No, just look at the…. where are you going? Hands away from your face! Please just smile.”
Completely natural. Unscripted. Unposed. No matching outfits. No forced smiles. Just us being us.
Colouring in our 17th Paw Patrol picture for the day (amongst other stuff.)

How does a shoot work?

The day before our shoot, Sharon and I had a quick chat on the phone about what to expect.
Sharon is super flexible and easy-going. Initially she offered to come and hang out at our place for 8 hours to capture our day.
However, we are still in the glorious season of life where my kids take day naps.
So we decided to opt for a 4 hour (ish) afternoon session, post-naps.
Capturing what happens here most afternoons- some play, dinner prep, bath time, chores, some TV time.
Nothing exceptionally glamorous.

What do you do?

You can choose to have Sharon follow you on a big day out, down to the shops or spend the day at home.
The emphasis is on your day simply being documented. We chose to hang at home because we do a lot of it, we’re really good at it and have you tried to get 3 little people out of the house?

Are these photos an honest depiction of our daily life?

Except for the fact that I did actually get out of my pyjamas, I brushed my hair and my house was a tad bit tidier than usual.
But this is not a photo session where you need to wear your Sunday best, have your hair done and a full face of make up on.
Sharon’s advice is to come as you are. (Although I made the executive decision that none of you needed to see me in my pjs.)
I adore the fact that I have photos of me putting laundry away whilst balancing a wriggling babe on my hip. This is our life.
This is absolutely an honest reflection of this season of our lives. But if anybody has tips on organising linen, please holler.

What’s it like having a photographer/paparazzo in your home?

In our pre-shoot chat, I mentioned to Sharon that our preschooler likes to be in charge.
READ: Doesn’t always respond well to instructions from people she doesn’t know well.
We had a formal photo shoot last year where the photographer issued instructions to Miss 4.
Miss 4 then refused to have her photo taken. Fun times. Those photos now hang on our lounge room wall and make us laugh.
It looks like Happy Families but the behind-the-scenes involved some painful parenting moments.
I wondered how Miss 4 would respond to someone on her home turf, taking her photo.

Miss 4’s response blew me away. I completely attribute it to Sharon’s gentle approach that put the preschooler at ease.
Miss 4 was keen to show Sharon her room, her treasures, her favourite dresses, her dance routines.
The memories of this part of the experience are actually some of my faves.
Sharon really does a marvelous effort of putting you at ease.
You just go about your day and she’ll capture it. Simple.

I adore how our photos capture our story. Our everyday. Our love-soaked memories.

Follow Sharon on Facebook or find out more about her documentary photography packages on her website.

Sharon provided the shoot and images free of charge.
All opinions expressed here are my own and honest. Cross my heart.
We choose not to share clear photos online of our eldest 2’s faces. Sharon takes exceptionally rad photos of visible faces too (just in case you were wondering.)