Fun photos and hanging out with my inner child

Macro b&w shot of cut onion with bokeh. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
— George Bernard Shaw

For me, photography is play.

I have no-one telling me what to shoot; or how and when. I don’t make money from it (although I’d like to one day). The only constraints on me are time, light and my imagination.

The shot above is pure play. Not just the messing about with an onion, a smartphone and some tinfoil (now there’s a sentence you don’t often see), but the afterwards playing — the electronic doodling with photo-editing apps.

Diane Ackerman said “play is our brain’s favorite way of learning”, while the psychologist Jean Piaget offered this advice about creativity:

If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.
— Jean Piaget

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally

 

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The joy of simply being

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The boy-child and Wham in simpler times. On Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks. England. Photo: Su Leslie 2006

The boy-child with Wham in simpler times. On Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks. England. Photo: Su Leslie 2006

At the boy-child navigates his teens, we see less and less of the spontaneous joy that characterised his childhood.

Actually, we see less and less of him.

So it’s nice to look back and remember a time when days were full of simple pleasures that brought an expression of sheer joy to his face. It didn’t take much – a trip to the beach, an ice-cream, hanging out with a friend, a chance to play on a windy hill-top.

It’s tough growing up, but I hope that as he creates his adult persona, the boy-child doesn’t lose the capacity for joy.

This post was written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge. Here are some other responses that I’ve enjoyed:

http://lenzexperiments.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

http://blessinganimalcompanions.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy-annies-freedom/

http://laraelkhoury.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

http://thinkingthroughmylens.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/the-joy-of-the-unexpected/

http://ohtheplaceswesee.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

http://travelgardeneat.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

http://mygulitypleasures.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photochallenge-joy/

http://longwalksanddarkchocolate.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

http://theonlyd800inthehameau.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

http://chelsealeighandherphotography.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy-of-christmas-morning/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/a-little-saturday-joy/

http://marantophotography.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-joy/

Carefree to care-managed: the art of growing up?

Carefree: without worries or responsibilities.

We often think of childhood days as carefree; and it is true that watching young children at play evokes a sense of their freedom from concern or constraint.

When the boy-child was younger, fantasy games formed a huge part of his everyday play. Like many children, he loved to create forts out of chairs and blankets, turn cardboard boxes into spaceships, dress up and invent imaginary friends. In his case they were imaginary older siblings, which, for a mother struggling with infertility, was pretty tough to deal with at times.

Incredibly inventive, he was constantly making things. Lego and building blocks were indispensable in building props for his, often quite complex, games. Cardboard sheets were sellotaped and stapled into cars, aeroplanes and once, a huge aircraft carrier (and I mean huge).

Items he wanted but didn’t have were improvised. As a two year old, he made a skateboard out of cardboard and spent hours “doing tricks” on it (I have video footage of this, just waiting until his first commercial skate movie comes out). At pre-school he persuaded one of the teachers to spend a session helping him build a guitar out of cardboard boxes and cylinders, and his first “iPod” was made out of stapled construction paper with a carefully hand-drawn screen.

There was no definite end to this phase, but I suspect that the beginning of the end was primary school. Whereas his Montessori preschool positively encouraged fantasy plan and creativity, his school did not. Nor did many of his new playmates seem to want to involve themselves in the elaborate dressing-up games.

Basically, he began to notice what other children said and did a lot more and he learned to care … specifically to care what other people thought of him.  With that came a diminished capacity to be carefree – instead the key-word became cool.

The boy-child is now 15 and, I think, pretty comfortable in his own skin. He has at times shown tremendous courage – standing up for what he believes in and taking teasing and occasional cyber-nastiness very much in his stride. He seems to have a strong sense of who he is and is willing to go out into the world saying “this is me.”

Of course, that doesn’t stop him choosing his clothing, haircut and shoes according to the “fashion” determined by his peer group, nor rolling his eyes when I suggest something that is “just so uncool.”  But in general, I think he has both the ability and the will to think for himself.

But he is no longer carefree.

I’m posting these photos of my beautiful child to remind him how awesome he is; and in the hope that he will continue to grow his sense of self and one day be happy to put the fairy wings back on, tune the cardboard guitar and take off into space with Nick, Jessica (the imaginary siblings) and – his companion in many adventures – Wham the wonder dog (who is very real, only not a real dog).

Wham the wonderdog; joined the family in 2005. Since graduating from dog school and university with a degree in art history, he's travelled around NZ, to Australia, the UK, Paris and Singapore with the boy-child. He's survived having to live in (rather than out of) a suitcase, several energetic games of Whamball, being left in a hotel in Wellington, and a few cycles in the washing machine and dryer. Eight years old, he's still going strong, although tends not to go out so much anymore. I think he might be writing his memoirs.

Wham the wonder-dog joined the family in 2005. According to the boy-child, after dog school Wham graduated from dog university with a PhD in art history. He’s widely travelled, having been around NZ, to Australia, the UK, Paris and Singapore with us. He’s survived having to live in (rather than out of) a suitcase, several energetic games of Whamball, being left in a hotel in Wellington, and a more than a few cycles in the washing machine and dryer. At eight years old, he’s still going strong, although tends not to go out so much anymore. We think he might be writing his memoirs.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge theme is carefree.

Here are some other posts you might like:

http://milnersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

http://thismansjourney.net/2013/08/18/giant-boy-in-paris/

http://lonelytravelog.com/2013/08/18/weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

http://meandmymegapixels.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/chillin-in-the-sun/

http://vosperdruiter.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/carefree-take-2-weekly-photo-challenge/

http://constellarations.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/sand-banks-weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

http://eljaygee.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/wpc-carefree/

http://ulillala.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/weekly-photo-challenge-carefree/

http://sreeniviews.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/carefree/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

waiting for ... not exactly curtain up.

waiting for … not exactly curtain up.

Auckland is still basking in a long (very long) hot summer and Saturday evening was perfect for Auckland University’s Summer Shakespeare. 2013 is the fiftieth anniversary of this campus institution and the chosen play was King Lear. As always, sets are minimalist and take advantage of the beautiful natural setting of the Old Quad.

The show was sold out, and as we waited for people to take their seats and watched the moon come up over Old Government House, I shot a few pics on my phone. I like this one for the contrast of movement and stillness; the present and the promise of what’s to come.