If you have been a consistent follower of our work, you'll know that Courtney gave birth to our beautiful daughter last year. Prior to the birth, I knew that I would want to do some sort of art piece to honor and document our child. I had gone on a buying spree of folding SX-70 cameras early in 2011 with the launch of The Impossible Project films. Early images weren't that great, but the film had improved, so I decided (originally) to document the first 100 days of our daughter's life on instant film. However, 100 days had past with out me even realizing it, so at that point I decided to extend the project to one full year. Dedicating one self to a 365 day project to one subject on one format is pretty difficult. Compound that commitment to the challenges of learning how to be a father, learning ever changing shooting materials (Impossible Project and later old stock Polaroid film), and using old unreliable cameras, I had days of where I really wasn't sure if I could pull it off. Not to mention the times I suddenly realized that I hadn't taken a picture of Avi and would delay her bedtime for a picture. Not the best thing to ask of a tired baby or mama. But, persistence and support from Courtney paid off, and here I am writing this blog post. One might ask, why instant film? Why 30+ year old cameras? Why the Impossible Project? The answer to those questions really was that I didn't want this to be easy. I could have simply saved a whole lot of money and toted one of our digital cameras around. But, that wouldn't have been enough of a challenge. Taking pictures with a digital or traditional film camera would have allowed me to shoot too much. With this project, I would have to learn to take the good with the bad and accept that the one shot might not be technically perfect. I will admit, that I didn't limit myself to just one shot a day as I have accumulated about 700 polaroids over this past year.
Shooting this on instant film allowed me to explore an area of photography that I swore was lost. I had taken Polaroid for granted. Even with the rise of digital photography, in that back of my mind, I had always thought Polaroid would be around producing instant film. I figured over time the prices would go up, but not that Polaroid would stop producing film in 2008. This project not only allowed me to photographically witness my daughter growing up, but also allowed me the opportunity to take part in what I thought was a lost tradition of modern americana, stoping and snapping off a polaroid of your family.
While I could go one about my thoughts on the various films and get technical about things, the reality is that none of that stuff matters with this project in the end. What matters is one's ability to look at the pictures below and see a story of the first year in our daughter's life. This starts with a blurry shot on Courtney's chest moments after her birth, through naps, pee pee accidents, visits with family, visits with friends, travels across country (in planes and cars), experiences with a space shuttle, snow, doctor visits, messy dinners, toys, walks, Santa, our cats, to the morning of her birthday, and finally to a shot the day after: Avi at 365 +1 day... an image where Courtney was holding Avi and asked for a hug. Avellana squeezed back and I was able to get a shot of this while she looked out the window. The last image is first day of her new year.
For this project I made a 3x3 grid of pictures for each week of Avi's life. I have posted all of these on our blog through out the year, but here is a summery of those posts. Fifty-two 3x3 grids totaling 468 images in all. I have more beyond these from this past year, but I feel these tell a good story. I hope you enjoy.
I love you Avi! Your dad, Erin.
Thanks to family and friends who allowed me to take their photos with my daughter. Thanks to The Impossible Project. Thanks to my wife, Courtney. Thanks to my daughter, Avellana.