Childhood Unplugged

the bee & the fox

the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the fox the bee & the foxThe spring that everything bloomed. That’s how I want the boys to remember these last few months years from now when the hills are once again bare and dry and brown (but hopefully not). The most rain we’ve had for who knows how long. And at a time where we needed it so bad. The blooms, a pleasant reminder of the resiliency of nature; how it can go without for so long and still come back to life so brilliantly. A reminder to us all.

We had ambitions of making it out to Borrego Springs and never quite made it but I can’t say I’m too regretful given what’s come to life in our own back hills. It’s a sight to be seen and a sight to remember because who knows when the next drought will hit.

Tall weeds of beautiful blooms paving the way, making trails into caves and lining the memories of all of us here in Southern California. Giving thanks and gratitude to Mother Nature.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

the stork & the beanstalk photograhy

the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhythe stork & the beanstalk photograhy the stork & the beanstalk photograhy

Truthfully speaking, it’s hard to get out these days — Catering to Sonny’s nap schedule segments the day in such a way that doesn’t allow for a lot of spontaneity or even scheduled adventures, for that matter. Not easily, anyway. But there’s a season for everything and we make do. And if it weren’t for the naps, well, nothing would get done. So ya, season for everything. In any event, I left Sonny home to nap with Willy and took the older boys to the beach; a rare warm day following the most rain I can remember witnessing having grown up my whole life in California. A day that had me dreaming of summer days. And for what felt like the first time ever, I actually got to close my eyes for a bit; not to sleep, but to relax and take in the sounds. Free from sweet Sonny, who at his tender age demands nearly all of the attention of whoever is watching him. If for nothing else than for safety alone. It was nice to enjoy Hooper and Van, to take note of how much they’ve grown and are changing. We came home more burnt than we should have, I blame the fog for deceiving us and the nearly empty spray can of sunscreen that, in hindsight, probably blew more air than actual protection. In any event, it was nice to take an afternoon ‘off’ and to enjoy these older boys of mine, one on one. Or two on one; how it always used to be.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

san clemente family photographer-5988

san clemente family photographer-6067 san clemente family photographer-5931 san clemente family photographer-5937 san clemente family photographer-5945 san clemente family photographer-5955 san clemente family photographer-5949 san clemente family photographer-5965 san clemente family photographer-5956 san clemente family photographer-6004 san clemente family photographer-6092 san clemente family photographer-6014 san clemente family photographer-6030 san clemente family photographer-5971 san clemente family photographer-6039 san clemente family photographer-6051 san clemente family photographer-6056 san clemente family photographer-6083Slow days, in Arizona. Celebrating the life of Willy’s grandma, watching storms roll in and out, and sleeping in… well, some of us, anyway.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

 

Childhood Unplugged

san-clemente-family-photographer-1160

san-clemente-family-photographer-1163 san-clemente-family-photographer-1188 san-clemente-family-photographer-1191 san-clemente-family-photographer-1196 san-clemente-family-photographer-1213 san-clemente-family-photographer-1225Life is a whirlwind these days and its evident by my absence here, a place I love to spend whatever free time I manage to find (but rarely ever find, it seems). Life moving faster than the wind moving pages of a paperback book. For us all, I presume. Hoping that this new year brings with it a slowness December seems to always lack; time to regroup, organize, clean up, breathe.

In any event, we spent part of an afternoon at the stables here in San Juan, where our friend Sarah has a few horses she was kind enough to let us visit. And ride. And pet. Hoping to bring the boys back more often and maybe even squeeze in a lesson or two as Hooper, especially, has always had a love for horses. And Van, well, cowboys.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

san-clemente-family-photographer-7060

san-clemente-family-photographer-7153 san-clemente-family-photographer-7036 san-clemente-family-photographer-7045 san-clemente-family-photographer-7167 san-clemente-family-photographer-7054 san-clemente-family-photographer-7161 san-clemente-family-photographer-7063 san-clemente-family-photographer-7170 san-clemente-family-photographer-7070 san-clemente-family-photographer-7080 san-clemente-family-photographer-7173 san-clemente-family-photographer-7092 san-clemente-family-photographer-7119I justified living in a townhome for a long time, my parents recalling frequently the expansive land they raised my sister and I on, whispering the notions we’ve all heard about kids needing a yard. I tried to think ahead, to when the boys would be older and more independent; the freedom to ride their skateboards through our small downtown to get to the beach. I wrote off the lack of outdoor space highlighting the community surrounding us, neighbors that truly cared for us (and still do). And really, it wasn’t until the day that Hooper came up and asked if I would go outside with him so he could run that I felt as though something was in fact lacking. His little legs carrying him around in a circle formation like a hamster on a wheel. I spent the following week anticipating a letter from the HOA notifying me that children are not allowed to run in circles on the road because, well, safety hazards in overprotected America and old crotchety neighbors that live to taddle.

Our search for a home was more about meeting our needs than meeting our dreams. Sure we hope one day that the home we envision can come to fruition but until then, it’s nothing more than checking boxes on a list. And none of this is to say that the house we now call home isn’t a dream; it is. We feel incredibly grateful for all our home provides for us; not a day has gone by where we haven’t talked about how happy we are here, under this new-to-us roof.

During the reconstruction we spent many of evenings in the backyard, waiting to finally move in; sitting on chairs that were left behind and eating dinner out of a plastic bag, red letters reading ‘thank you’. The boys would ride their bikes, climb up the hill, and pee in the bushes; they were marking their territory. Point being, by the time we finally moved in, they had their holes dug, their plants – errr – watered, and their forts constructed. They knew the outside of the house better than the inside. And now, weeks after actually living here, the same is true.

They spend entire afternoons outside. I was told yard space would be a game changer, but I didn’t anticipate the playing field changing so drastically. It’s far from the vision we have for it but already it meets our needs and then some. Jimmie’s needs too. I mean having a doggy door has changed my life in areas I didn’t know I needed help. As in, I would starve him if he ever grew out of the little flip door.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

san-clemente-family-photographer-8311

san-clemente-family-photographer-8267 san-clemente-family-photographer-8275 san-clemente-family-photographer-8282 san-clemente-family-photographer-8284 san-clemente-family-photographer-8289 san-clemente-family-photographer-8292 san-clemente-family-photographer-8304 san-clemente-family-photographer-8306 san-clemente-family-photographer-8329 san-clemente-family-photographer-8316 san-clemente-family-photographer-8332 san-clemente-family-photographer-8319 san-clemente-family-photographer-8334

An evening on the beach, from our first night in Baja, Mexico. Feeling the kind of freedom and surrender that is sure to follow hours spent coupes up in the car. An evening spent collecting shells under cotton candy filled skies on a beach we practically had to ourselves.

More from Mexico to come.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

san-clemente-family-photographer-5039

san-clemente-family-photographer-4879 san-clemente-family-photographer-4871 san-clemente-family-photographer-4877 san-clemente-family-photographer-4883 san-clemente-family-photographer-4902 san-clemente-family-photographer-4918 san-clemente-family-photographer-4938 san-clemente-family-photographer-4952 san-clemente-family-photographer-4956 san-clemente-family-photographer-4975 san-clemente-family-photographer-4985 san-clemente-family-photographer-4993 san-clemente-family-photographer-4986 san-clemente-family-photographer-5001 san-clemente-family-photographer-5006 san-clemente-family-photographer-5017 san-clemente-family-photographer-5022 san-clemente-family-photographer-5026 san-clemente-family-photographer-5031 san-clemente-family-photographer-5032 san-clemente-family-photographer-5040 san-clemente-family-photographer-5045 san-clemente-family-photographer-5048 san-clemente-family-photographer-5054

We’re not big on celebrations over here; well, not in the traditional way, anyway. Take birthdays, for example. More specifically, my birthday. Where the only gift I opened from Willy was a box with a folded piece of paper with a picture of a barn located just outside of Sequoia. Presents by way of experiences, if you will. And some chocolate covered caramel.

We had intentions of making it up the mountain until we saw the outline of the road, which resembled the scribble scrabble of a two year old more than it did a paved path. And given our past experiences with Hooper and his upheavals from the mere turnabouts in Tijuana, we opted to stay lakeside instead. And when taking the majestic sunset each night, I can’t say it felt like we missed out.

I’ll be sharing more from our trip to Springville soon. Still trying to get caught up here with all we’ve had going on as of late.

And on the Childhood Unplugged front, you may be interested in our latest feature of Deborah Parkin, which you can check out here.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

 

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-6135

San Clemente Family Photographer-6067 San Clemente Family Photographer-6074 San Clemente Family Photographer-6085 San Clemente Family Photographer-6094 San Clemente Family Photographer-6087 San Clemente Family Photographer-6076 San Clemente Family Photographer-6095 San Clemente Family Photographer-6102 San Clemente Family Photographer-6096 San Clemente Family Photographer-6114 San Clemente Family Photographer-6125 San Clemente Family Photographer-6131 San Clemente Family Photographer-6151 San Clemente Family Photographer-6155 San Clemente Family Photographer-6141 San Clemente Family Photographer-6167 San Clemente Family Photographer-6186 San Clemente Family Photographer-6197 San Clemente Family Photographer-6216 San Clemente Family Photographer-6223These monthly posts really highlight how fast time is flying these days. Seems not-worth-stating since the speed of time is a given; all of us scratching our heads in disbelief. Where did summer even go? Last summer we bbq’d at our favorite spot on what-seemed-like a weekly basis. This summer? We made it out twice.

We’re heading out to Arizona for the weekend and the realization that I only recently got around to posting about our last trip to AZ and have yet to post about our more recent trip outside of Sequoia has me up in arms. If time were a tangible thing, I’d be looking for it under the sofa cushions because it’s surely hiding somewhere around here.

In any event, I hope everyone has a lovely holiday weekend; complete with the slow passing of time, children who behave, and weather that reminds us that despite the beginning of the school year it is still, indeed, summer.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photography-2581 San Clemente Family Photography-2561 San Clemente Family Photography-2575 San Clemente Family Photography-2584 San Clemente Family Photography-2595 San Clemente Family Photography-2589 San Clemente Family Photography-2593 San Clemente Family Photography-2609

A warm, summer night, in Arizona, walking the long dirt road to the dairy across the street all while slappin’ the mosquitos and taking turns being the leader. Oh ya, and Bitsy, the cow who’s been in their lives since day one.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-4733

San Clemente Family Photographer-4739 San Clemente Family Photographer-4741 San Clemente Family Photographer-4763 San Clemente Family Photographer-4822 San Clemente Family Photographer-4881

Life with now three little ones has kept moving. No rest for the weary, so they say. We had a nice smooth transition for the first month or so, with neighbors and family pitching in with loads of helping hands and warm meals. What followed soon-there-after was a few stress-filled weeks with Willy unexpectedly having to travel for work and a few other curve balls that all seemed to be thrown at once, from different directions and at varying speeds.

The baby is not what makes having three children hard. It’s the other two, who oftentimes resemble caged animals; the kind that will eat the young of those that travel into their habitat.

In any event, sometimes getting their energy channeled into one direction is as simple as putting on some music, seeing who can count the most red cars on the road outside our window, and talking about all the different colors that paint the sky as the sun goes down.

And sometimes, it’s not.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-6463

San Clemente Family Photographer-6419 San Clemente Family Photographer-6427 San Clemente Family Photographer-6423 San Clemente Family Photographer-6428 San Clemente Family Photographer-6434 San Clemente Family Photographer-6429 San Clemente Family Photographer-6437 San Clemente Family Photographer-6446 San Clemente Family Photographer-6451 San Clemente Family Photographer-6448 San Clemente Family Photographer-6453 San Clemente Family Photographer-6454 San Clemente Family Photographer-6460 San Clemente Family Photographer-6478 San Clemente Family Photographer-6480 San Clemente Family Photographer-6461 San Clemente Family Photographer-6473 San Clemente Family Photographer-6487 San Clemente Family Photographer-6490

The Salton Sea, a place I can’t seem to abandon whenever we’re out in the desert; equal parts mystical and enchanting, disgusting and desolate. And different every time we go.

We stopped at a hole-in-the-wall bar / restaurant in Bombay Beach, a place you’re sure to sit shoulder to shoulder with the local crowd. It’s walls adorned with dollar bills, so many in fact that I always think should the place run into financial ruin the money on the wall is sure to pay for another months rent, at least. I’ve heard whispers that Anthony Bourdain ate here once; not that the food is to rave about, it’s really the only option for miles. In any event, the fried chicken and french fries never seem to disappoint. Unless you’re a three-year-old on the verge of the fucking fours and your goal in life is to make every step of life difficult; in-which-case, not even fried deliciousness can contend with a sour mood.

We stepped out with bellies full, minus said three-year-old, the warm on-the-verge-of-summer air wrapping around us like a blanket on a cold night. The trains passing in the distance and the sun setting beyond the horizon. We pulled off the road at a spot we’ve been several times in the past and stumbled upon an abandoned wood boat we had never seen before; the mystery of the Salton Sea proving, as always, to produce more questions than answers.

Given the day prior, which included a trip to the ER, this day was in some way payback for prior suffering. Even if for just a few moments in time; moments where that soon-to-be four-year-old let go of the fact his cowboy boots were soggy (I mean who goes into the pool with their cowboy boots on?) and explored an abandoned ‘pirate ship’ while the trains chugged on and the setting sun said goodnight.

More on our last trip to the desert to come.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

the stork & the beanstalk _ childhood unpluggedI’m moderating the feed over on Childhood Unplugged this week, sharing images of motherhood. Feel free to join in by hashtagging your images with #cu_motherhood. Also want to take a moment to give love to all the women out there – both the ones that are mothers and those that long to be. There is so much surrounding conception and pregnancy and birth and life that is out of our control and while it is important to celebrate those that have children here on Earth, it’s also nice to acknowledge those who’s children live in dreams or heaven or in another form all together. I imagine this last weekend was difficult for many and I hate for their pain to be buried, or unheard.

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-43

San Clemente Family Photographer-46 San Clemente Family Photographer-51 San Clemente Family Photographer-57 San Clemente Family Photographer-60 San Clemente Family Photographer-68 San Clemente Family Photographer-72 San Clemente Family Photographer-76 San Clemente Family Photographer-85 San Clemente Family Photographer-87 San Clemente Family Photographer-91 San Clemente Family Photographer-92 San Clemente Family Photographer-95 San Clemente Family Photographer-97 San Clemente Family Photographer-105

We stopped for Mexican food at one of those hole-in-the wall places that boast the best reviews before heading out to the wetlands, our first outing out as a family of 5 and not a single picture of sweet Sonny – asleep for much of it – in his carseat to show for it.

A few wrong turns later and we were worried we’d make it at all, the last of the bird photographers packing up their long lens as we made our way across the wooden bridge, sightseeing along the way; the contrasting white heron against the darkness of the water and the setting sun casting all sorts of beautiful colors in a sky that looked edible, like cotton candy. Ever trying to tire these boys out, I let them run. And run. And run. Much of what I seemed to capture this evening was of the backs of their sweet heads and on an evening such as this, when simply getting out the front door feels like a feat, I could have cared less to capture anything at all.

And if a good evening doesn’t end with a nice long leak in nature, I don’t know what does.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

*Also, I’ll be taking over the Childhood Unplugged feed the week of Mother’s Day… Use hashtag #cu_motherhood for a chance to be featured. Love sharing all your precious moments with your littles.

An Interview, with photographer Niki Boon

Niki Boon (2)

It brings me so much pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite photographers to date, Niki Boon; someone’s whose work I’ve long followed via Facebook and perhaps one of the only reasons I stay on or even log in these days. She’s a relatively new member to our Childhood Unplugged group as well and fits the bill as well as anyone could; living a life off the grid, covered in mud, and outside of the norm. For me, she captures childhood like no other, her images being further complimented by her and her family’s lifestyle itself. Phenomenal self-taught photographer, living life extraordinaire… with no further adieu, I welcome Niki Boon.

 

Where do you live and how would you describe your home?
We live in the south island of the New Zealand, in a region called Marlborough. We live in a big old wooden house on a 10 acre lifestyle property. Our house has a bit of history as it was part of the a local catholic school’s boarding house before it was moved to this site by a previous owner. Our property has a variety of animals and a small vineyard on it.Niki Boon (7) Niki Boon (9)
What do you and your husband do for work?
Prior to our decisions to homeschool our children I was worker part –time as a physiotherapist. My husband currently works in finance.
Can you touch on each of your children as a subject; how are they different to capture? What do each of them bring to the table? Does one enjoy being in front of the camera more than another? Please provide your favourite portrait of each of them along with this question.
Each of four children are quite different from each other in everyway, which makes for some ‘interesting’ interaction during our days. I don’t know that any of them enjoy the camera more than the others, I think they all accept the camera as part of their , and that if they go anywhere with me , it will be present, certainly none of them play up for it… they generally don’t acknowledge it all , unless I draw attention to it, so there doesn’t seem to be any theatrical performances from any of them at all, at least not for the camera. Occassionally , if I ask for them to repeat something , or just to hold it for a second… then it is usually the younger two and occasionally my eldest that are a little more open to helping me out with that.Niki Boon (16) Niki Boon (15) Niki Boon (12)
You’re not on instagram, but if you were, you’d have loads of images deleted from your account due to “nudity” as your children are often topless. Can you discuss your (presumed) frustrations with the sexualization of young girls? And perhaps touch on your children’s own feelings – even if there are none – toward being topless or even naked in front of one another.
Part of our decision to homeschool our children was so they could develop a strong sense of self without the societal pressure that exist in our world right now, they will be and already are subjected to all the judgement and beliefs that are out there already.  I believe very strongly in a degree of freedom that we all possess, and that includes with our body’s. It saddens me that there are others out there that struggle with that. My children think nothing of how they present themselves in day to day life at home, and I celebrate (and document) that. As they grow , I see them becoming more aware of both themselves and how they are viewed by others, it is the world we live in , but hope that I have given them the experience of freedom enough for a base from which to both stand strong  grow in this world of judgement we exist in today.
I think those of us that are driven to document can error on the side of obsession at times. Does anyone in your family get bothered by the documentation of their lives? If so, how do you navigate around this?
My children are so used to having the camera around now, that they react very little to it.  I generally captured play as it unfolds, but occasionally I might ask them to do something again, or hold it for just a second, and they will sometimes get a bit frustrated with this, which is a reminder to me that I back out just a bit, and to put the camera down too.
I know more about what I am after in a photo now, and when I have got what I am after , which also means that I spend less time with the camera in front of my face , and more interaction with my kids than I used to. Although I will admit , I am just as obsessive as other documentary photographers at times.Niki Boon (14) Niki Boon (10)

Cousins at home
Cousins at home

 

The good majority of your images are shot outdoors, what percent of your day would you say you guys spend outside? What does a typical day look like? How do your activities change with the seasons?
We do spend a lot of time outside, yes. But I think it is also because I am also more inspired to shoot outside than inside.
Our activities change a little with the colder weather , often to involve more time inside, but we will still adventure to nearby beaches,rivers and bush frequently , just that the adventures we have there differ.
What kind of chores do each of your children have around the house?
The children are all responsible, at least in part to look after the animals, all that entails. They also assist at times on the vineyard. There are also the regular housekeeping jobs, washing, dishes , cleaning etc… They are all expected to help out to complete all that needs to be done morning and night. They don’t have a specific job list , but rather encouraged to use their initiative (with a few whack of verbal prompting !!!)Niki Boon (13) Niki Boon (8) Niki Boon (3)
I once watched the documentary “Surfwise” about a father that raised his family in various RVs on various beaches; modern day “unschooling”, I suppose. How would you defend the way you raise your children to those who say that kids that are raised this way are at a disadvantage should they chose to be a part of the larger society they’re apart of?
I haven’t seen that movie, but I have heard about it.
I used to take a defensive stand with our choices when talking to others who had strong opinions on what we were doing , but these days I tend to just listen to them  , and sometimes I will explain a little more about what we are doing and how philosophies behind our choices, but others times I am happy just to acknowledge that everyone has their opinions, and that it is OK to just nod and smile and thank them for sharing them with me.
I feel our kids are suitably out there in society to know how it all works, at least to the best of their ability at their ages.They interact with a wide range of the community on a daily basis and have a pretty down to earth and real set of parents to make sure the kids are seriously grounded.
Can you touch on your children’s relationship with technology. Do they have one? Do you feel like they’re missing out when compared to gadgets other kids have? Is it ever a struggle to pull them away from screens or hand-held devices?
We don’t have a TV. Although they are on special occasions (birthdays or sickness) able to watch the odd movie on our computer. We own an ipad, but it is not free for all. Our kids have never and still don’t ask for TV or use of electronic devises. I guess they have never had them, so don’t know they are missing out. Am I worried they are missing out? No … they is coming a time when they will be accessing the computer for research and in small ways is is happening now, and as they get older I am sure that will increase significantly as their needs change. But when they are young I feel it is so important for them to learn about the world they live in , by experiencing first hand , with their feet on the ground, hands on the creatures and plants, noses in the air, and tongues in the rain… with all their senses.Niki Boon (6) Niki Boon (4)Niki Boon (5)

 

What do you shoot with? What’s your favorite lens? 
I shoot with a canon 5d mk iii , and currently almost always use a 35 mmm 1.4 lens. I love this lens, it took a while for me to get used to how to use it well, but I think I am getting better. It allows so much of the story in front of me to be told, and lets me play around with composition in the process, which is awesome when I have so so much still to learn about all things composition and light.

 

Many thanks, Niki, for taking the time. If you’d like to check out more of Niki Boon’s body of work, you can find her here, here,  and here

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-3201

San Clemente Family Photographer-3186 San Clemente Family Photographer-3189 San Clemente Family Photographer-3205 San Clemente Family Photographer-3269 San Clemente Family Photographer-3273 San Clemente Family Photographer-3278 San Clemente Family Photographer-3299 San Clemente Family Photographer-3287 San Clemente Family Photographer-3304 San Clemente Family Photographer-3310 San Clemente Family Photographer-3311

Snapped these shots, pre-Sonny, of the boys on an evening where they became more familiar with stinging nettle than they’d like, but had fun nonetheless.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged | The Salton Sea

San Clemente Family Photographer-2233

San Clemente Family Photographer-1950 San Clemente Family Photographer-1955 San Clemente Family Photographer-1961 San Clemente Family Photographer-1973 San Clemente Family Photographer-1984 San Clemente Family Photographer-1986 San Clemente Family Photographer-2007 San Clemente Family Photographer-2023 San Clemente Family Photographer-2032 San Clemente Family Photographer-2038 San Clemente Family Photographer-2039 San Clemente Family Photographer-2044 San Clemente Family Photographer-2056 San Clemente Family Photographer-2060 San Clemente Family Photographer-2062 San Clemente Family Photographer-2074 San Clemente Family Photographer-2078 San Clemente Family Photographer-2100 San Clemente Family Photographer-2101 San Clemente Family Photographer-2119 San Clemente Family Photographer-2124 San Clemente Family Photographer-2127 San Clemente Family Photographer-2128 San Clemente Family Photographer-2144 San Clemente Family Photographer-2151 San Clemente Family Photographer-2161 San Clemente Family Photographer-2168 San Clemente Family Photographer-2170 San Clemente Family Photographer-2181 San Clemente Family Photographer-2184 San Clemente Family Photographer-2186 San Clemente Family Photographer-2199 San Clemente Family Photographer-2213 San Clemente Family Photographer-2235 San Clemente Family Photographer-2237 San Clemente Family Photographer-2246 San Clemente Family Photographer-2257 San Clemente Family Photographer-2292 San Clemente Family Photographer-2293 San Clemente Family Photographer-2294 San Clemente Family Photographer-2303

Before we dropped Willy off at his meeting he told me, “Just don’t let the boys touch the fish or go in the water”. But within minutes, fish were touched and there wasn’t any winning that battle; pieces of fish bone crunching beneath their sledge covered shoes and falling through the crevices between their fingers. Holding up varying degrees of rotting carcasses, “Mama, is this one okay to pick up?”, proving needless to answer given the fact whatever fish they were inquiring about was already in their little grubby hands. “Van, keep your thumb out of your mouth” the only request I could muster at that point.

The Salton Sea; so beautiful on the eyes, so hard on the nose. This trip, however, proving not so bad on the ol’ sniffer. Not one complaint from the boys, actually, who – in the past – have been turned off by the stench of those rotting carcasses.

They climbed rocks, fell on rocks, made footprints in contaminated mud that made me cringe about the thought of those shoes later having to come off and me, invariably, having to touch them to do so. But as the sun fell and the water turned to glass I opted to rely on a faint hope that I would find some hand sanitizer in the car and with that hope I let go of whatever reservations I had. I suppose that’s what happens when in the presence of beauty. We watched the birds fly overhead, a line of other photographers slowly lining the shoreline and mimicking the arrangement of the flying birds themselves; one evenly spaced, straight line. Reflections of wood posts that used to anchor yachts that have since left for other waters, cleaner waters, mirroring the reflection of the mountains and making it all look like a Salvador Dali painting leaving one to question which end is up. Fish carcasses tossed back into the waters that have discarded them – killed them – breaking the glass-like appearance and sending ripples outward, stillness turned to movement; the silence broken. The color palette of the sky subtly changing.

We made our way back, the nights sky illuminated by what appeared to be a full-moon. The water turned back to glass, silence reigning once again in the wake of the exit of two little boys who did their damnest to return those dead fish to their home in the sea, the Salton Sea; ever beautiful, ever polluted. One of life’s most interesting conundrums. One of my favorite places.

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-7136

San Clemente Family Photographer-7132 San Clemente Family Photographer-7139 San Clemente Family Photographer-7141 San Clemente Family Photographer-7152 San Clemente Family Photographer-7171 San Clemente Family Photographer-7175 San Clemente Family Photographer-7180 San Clemente Family Photographer-7182 San Clemente Family Photographer-7192 San Clemente Family Photographer-7199 San Clemente Family Photographer-7212 San Clemente Family Photographer-7221 San Clemente Family Photographer-7230 San Clemente Family Photographer-7232 San Clemente Family Photographer-7270 San Clemente Family Photographer-7282 San Clemente Family Photographer-7283 San Clemente Family Photographer-7287 San Clemente Family Photographer-7295 San Clemente Family Photographer-7303 San Clemente Family Photographer-7310 San Clemente Family Photographer-7316 San Clemente Family Photographer-7331 San Clemente Family Photographer-7336

An evening spent digging, chasing, climbing, and – in true kid fashion – ripping flowers out of the ground, roots n’ all.
Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Polly Alderton, on Childhood Unplugged

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

“I want my children to be art literate and to understand as much as they can about my processes. If I have a set idea in my mind, I’ll ask them to do it and if they like the sound of it they will. Sometimes they don’t like the sound of it and they wont. I have a picture I like of my oldest son posing in a flower crown in our back garden, he looks so serene and earthy, he was at the time sitting giving me a list of reasons why he should be allowed to have a computer games console in the house. Another time I let him stick his fingers up to swear as part of a photo trade. I am trying to move in a bit of a different direction with my pictures at the moment and pose them less. I’m really just trying to catch them as they are, I like this idea of collecting a series of what may look like film stills. I realised that the kids were starting to get bored by me, and I was of myself too.”

I posted an interview I did with Polly Alderton, from @dollyandfife, over on the Childhood Unplugged blog. You can check it out by clicking here.

 

 

Childhood Unplugged

San Clemente Family Photographer-4671

San Clemente Family Photographer-4581 San Clemente Family Photographer-4587 San Clemente Family Photographer-4594 San Clemente Family Photographer-4604 San Clemente Family Photographer-4608 San Clemente Family Photographer-4610 San Clemente Family Photographer-4614 San Clemente Family Photographer-4616 San Clemente Family Photographer-4627 San Clemente Family Photographer-4636 San Clemente Family Photographer-4644 San Clemente Family Photographer-4652 San Clemente Family Photographer-4657 I swear it’s impossible to get the boys into the car these days without some conglomeration of what they refer to as their ‘bad-guy-stuff’, which really is an assortment of shields and swords and various accessories that seem to rotate in and out. So the other day we packed up the ‘bad guy stuff’ and headed for our favorite wilderness park in search of bad guys, obviously. What we found instead were some wild mushrooms, lots of puddles, and even some turkey vultures.

It was quiet, the dew on the leaves a lingering reminder of the rain that fell on our drive out. We climbed some trees, followed a dirt path to a patch filled with wild cacti, and ended the morning at the playground (which is within the wilderness park as well and is most always empty).

Please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.

Childhood Unplugged | Cuba

Childhood Unplugged-36

Childhood Unplugged-1 Childhood Unplugged-13 Childhood Unplugged-2 Childhood Unplugged-21 Childhood Unplugged-3 Childhood Unplugged-5 Childhood Unplugged-8 Childhood Unplugged-34 Childhood Unplugged-17 Childhood Unplugged-6
Childhood Unplugged-19 Childhood Unplugged-18Childhood Unplugged-30 Childhood Unplugged-24 Childhood Unplugged-25 Childhood Unplugged-26 Childhood Unplugged-39

Delving into my images from Cuba feels like a daunting task given how many images I snapped while there. But starting here, with some childhood unplugged (the abroad edition) feels like a good start. In fact, this is the very reason taking the boys – despite the possibility they may never remember such a trip – was important to me.

An excerpt from Lonely Planet (my go-to guide book for all international travel — not sure how anyone functions without it): “Welcome to a culture where children still play freely in the street and wait staff unconsciously ruffle your toddler’s hair as they glide past your table on their way back to the kitchen. There’s something wonderfully old-fashioned about kids’ entertainment here, which is less about sophisticated computer games and more about messing around in the plaza with an improvised baseball bat and a rolled-up ball of plastic”.

Five years ago when Willy and I went to Cuba sans kids (well, Hooper was growing in my belly), we brought an assortment of baseball cards, balls, and t-shirts. We had less room to bring such niceties this time around, but we did manage to bring some coloring books and matchbox cars. Both kids were rather disgusted about giving away brand new cars, but Hooper quickly came around when he witnessed the joy it brought other little boys. Van… not so much. And that’s okay (he is 3, after all).

There is so much life and energy on the streets of Havana; women sitting in simple lounge chairs on the sidewalk, men playing dominos on the street corner, and kids – tons of kids – kicking soccer balls around or playing a game of stickball. It’s so different from the sterility that fills the majority of neighborhoods here in America and perhaps the number one thing that will always draw me to Cuba.

All groups of children were inviting and allowed the boys, despite the inability to speak the same language, to partake; the older boys actually bringing balls over to the boys to give them more of a fair chance at play.

I’m always amazed by the stray dogs and their ability to navigate the streets; their know-with-all and ability to survive the same streets that has me holding my boys’ hands a little tighter despite the fact I most always trust them to walk independently. The kids of Cuba are the same way — street smart; they’re little hearts don’t even seem to miss a beat as they hop barefoot over a pile of who-knows-what, collect their balls and their makeshift wooden goal posts, and move to the side to let some exhaust blowing classic car zoom by. No parents rushing to their rescue, no parents even overseeing the fairness of the game nor the safeness of the field.

The boys also had a blast with the kids that lived next door to the house we rented a room in… crazy, again, how not a word spoken is understood and yet they all run and slam their cars into one another the same. Those boys that lived next door were so warm and inviting and it was Hooper’s favorite pastime during the few hours when Van would nap. And, perhaps the part that warms my mama heart most, he was always invited. Always (as was I – and my camera, for that matter). And each time, the group of kids seemed to change… cousins or other neighborhood kids added in or taken away from the core few.

I’ve always more-or-less advocated for the free-range childhood movement and Cuba seems like the epitome of such; only without the stupid gimmicky title. Over there, it’s not some sort of renegade parenting cliche, it’s just the way.

I’m not sure what the boys will remember of Cuba years from now, but I hope images like these joggle memories and remind them that their parents put up with a lot of the hardships that come with traveling (do I even need to add “with children” because shit, traveling alone is hard) because we believe in it’s importance.

More from Cuba to come… no promises on how soon because, well, the house is an absolute disaster… we have construction that seems to start and stop whenever our super great (please read my sarcasm) contractor decides to start, stop, and restart again (I won’t even mention the fact that we had an upstairs bathtub leaking into our downstairs kitchen), piles and piles of laundry, a growing list of things that need to be sold / donated / thrown away, and the ever-present upkeep with The Bee & The Fox, which following the weekend holiday has me wondering if I can stay afloat.

In any event, please join me in supporting the other photographers participating in the Childhood Unplugged movement by clicking here to see all our submissions. You can also follow us on instagram (@childhoodunplugged) and be sure to use #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed.