The Children Must Grow Up Series: Part I

The CHILDREN Must Grow UP Series… Part ONE…

A Tale of Pink and Blue Birth Stories. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

This is an ongoing series that began four years ago… on the day my first child was born. Years before I decided to become a photographer. I unknowingly worked on this series for three years; snapping shots like every other mother does in order to preserve the memories of my children when they were little. I documented the happy moments as well as the moments which have helped shape me into a the mother I’ve become; moments where I’ve had to be a mother. Moments such as when my son received the giant knot on his head after he fell into a bedpost, or when my daughter’s eye swelled up so badly from a horrible case of pinkeye that she resembled Rocky Balboa with a black eye (which lasted 10 days). After all, childhood is but a fleeting, temporal state that will be over before I’m ready. With each month, comes new developments and obvious physical growth and changes. Their worlds are ever-expanding and ever-changing. I have witnessed my son and daughter transition from infants to toddlers to “big kids” in what seems like a matter of days (but in reality has been four years). I cannot believe how quickly the past four years has flown by. 

I actually started this blog (one year ago) in order to document my process for a series I was creating for an Art History course at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. I studied various photographers and emulated their styles in portraits of my daughter, Lennon. My favorite photographer of all time is Sally Mann. I’m in awe of her work and every single piece she produces. Her works are hauntingly beautiful and I cannot seem to get her images out of my head. I think about them all the time. Especially, her Immediate Family series. I’m drawn to her work because my mind works like her mind. Now, I’m no world famous photographer like her but I have found myself photographing moments similar to the ones she captured… only in a slightly different way. And I was doing this, like I mentioned, long before my admiration for Sally Mann began. 

When my daughter Lennon was born, I was extremely irked that I was forced to  buy pink outfits. Yes, there are other colored outfits out there but they were hard to find. Plus, I despise the color yellow. My choices were pink or pink. If you have a girl, your friends and family will most likely buy you pink outfits as well. I experimented a little with this in the series I created for my art history course, but I wanted to further expand upon those ideas. Initially, I decided to tone my photographs in the appropriate gendered colors… blue for boy, pink for girl and sometimes purple if the line was blurred. These colors are meaningless and became more complicated the further I delved into this project. I loved that I was confused at times over which color to tone what because it further proves my point… gendered colors are ridiculous! Why should blue belong to boys and pink girls? My son is now four years old and he tells me he can’t drink out of pink cups because pink cups are for girls. A cup is a cup to me! Anyways, I am not trying to be a replica of Sally Mann and I grew bored with the single exposures I had taken. After downloading and experimenting with a new iPhone app, I decided to use Photoshop to turn my images into a series of double exposures. They remained toned but I loved how obscure the tones became as the images were blended together. Before a child becomes aware of gender (and their identity within that gender), colors and gendered activities are all universal to them. My daughter, for instance, loves taking off her shirt and walking around in her underwear like her daddy. She also loves to prance around in my high heels. 

This is only part I of my series… I will expand more upon these ideas in my part II post. On a side note, I want to sincerely apologize for my lack of blog posts lately. I’ve been having some health issues the past two weeks and have been unable to return comments or write posts. I’m so sorry! I am currently on pain pills, so I am now able to finally finish this post of mine. I am deeply attached to this series… was hard to let go and finalize all that I had been working on because I didn’t really want it to end. I will leave you with a quote by Sally Mann, taken from her Immediate Family book (if you’ve never heard of her, you are missing out and should definitely take a minute to look her up!) to ponder over as you view these images:

“When good pictures come, we hope they tell truths, but truths ‘told slant.’ just as Emily Dickinson commanded. We are spinning a story of what it is to grow up. It is a complicated story and sometimes we try to take on the grand themes: anger, love , death, sensuality, and beauty. But we tell it all without fear and shame…. How is it that we must hold what we love tight to us, against our very bones, knowing we must also, when the times comes, let it go?”–Sally Mann (Immediate Family

A Tale of First Meetings. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Feminine Pinkness. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Madonna and Child. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of What I am Teaching My Daughter and Son. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Pink Feet. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Pink Development. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Baby Lennon. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Innocent Eyes Before Awareness of the ‘Male Gaze’. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Weak Eyes. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Concentration. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Three Lennons in Tears. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Messy Eaters. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Two Batman Lovers. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Boy and Girl. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Two Encounters with the Opposite Sex. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Two Tales of Adoration. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Injuries. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Pink and Blue Bubbles. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Curious Dreamers. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Tears. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Pink Thought. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Pink-and-Blue Zen Bubble Bath Moments. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Two Terrains. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

A Tale of Extremely Sick Eyes. Polly Nance. Photoshop digital photograph. 2012.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and view my blog!

As always, please feel free to leave any and all feedback.

PEACE, LOVE until my next bloggy-blog post, dear fellow blog-readin’ friends. 🙂

18 thoughts on “The Children Must Grow Up Series: Part I

  1. Polly, I really think that your blending the layers of your children’s metamorphosis portrays your dedication as a mother. The stills are creative and inspiring. Nicely conceived and executed, Sally

  2. I agree with Sally! What ingenious work you have done here, each double-exposure image blends together perfectly, each one tells a beautiful story (you should think about putting these in a book)! I don’t think I had ever heard of Sally Mann, but as soon as you mentioned her name, I was already looking her up on Wikipedia before you suggested it!! 😉

    • Thank you Holly! I’m definitely going to put these in a book… wish they could be hung on the walls of a gallery tho! Perhaps one day… I’ll keep dreaming until then. Sally Mann is an incredible artist and photographer. I haven’t seen her most recent work but her husband (of many many years) has MS (I think) and she created a series to document the deterioration of his muscles. Powerful stuff. You should check it out. Thanks so much for your comment Holly and continued support. I worked so hard on these that I was almost terrified to post them. I find more people LIKE my posts when they are just of flowers or raindrops… but glad to hear these are getting a great response from the bloggers I care to hear from! Thank you 🙂

    • Thank you Mark! So great to hear from you. Hope you are doing well. You are so right.. they grow up WAY too fast but I guess that is the brilliance of life and the little time we get here on earth. Take nothing for granted, that’s what I’ve learned! Thank you so much for your comment 🙂

    • Thank you! I hope I’ll be better soon too… glad I worked on this before I got sick. Don’t know what’s going on, but I’m glad to hear I was missed! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed these 🙂

  3. Excellent thoughts, Polly. These images are very deep and complex in many ways. I love the tones and the layering and even how some of them are a bit disturbing but at the same time beautiful and compelling.
    Amazing, emotional work. Looking forward to part 2, but these require much looking!

    • Thanks Karen! I’m thinking I might post two at a time and tell stories with each so that my Part II isn’t as overwhelming and easier to view. Thank you so much for your kind words and incredible feedback. 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Tale of a Like-Minded Mother and Son… « Watching The Photo Reels Go Round And Round…

  5. I like these pictures, Polly, and I like this new project of your’s! But >>> each of these good pictures could stand alone, in its own right >>> see my comments on post #2 in this series!

    And this is wonderful writing you’re pouring out here >>> I’ve been rambling on about making photo books on Blurb.com recently >>> might this series be amalgamated into such a book too?

    Hope you’re feeling better! Adrian

    • I would LOVE to turn this series into a book!!! I was actually planning on it. I’ve never heard of blurb.com but I’ll certainly check it out. thank you so much for your feedback! SO glad you enjoyed my writing as well (I feel as if most people skip over the words and go straight to the image…). I appreciate your comments and continued support! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Little Lennons… « Watching The Photo Reels Go Round And Round…

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