Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How to take pictures of children

There are 17 children under the age of 10 on our block. I keep trying to get them all together for a photo. Here, inspired by Pop Culture Librarian's friend Josh, who posts photo essays on Tuesdays, is my photo essay documenting my attempts to get an entire cheerleading squad worth of antsy, fussy children to stand still and look at the camera.

First, the big kids (Zhou, 5; Neighbor Girl, 7; Mao, 6; Prosper, 7) climb up on the stump. Note Prosper checking out my son's scraped hand - he's got his arm around him and everything. This is a kid whom his father says rides through life as if in a limousine, "Oh, did we hit someone? Remind me to check the tires when we get home." But it's not true. He's got tons of empathy - just maybe not for his own siblings.

Assembling for the group photo 2

Next, we parked some of the littlies (Precious and Boniface, both of whom are I think 2) on the stump, but Bon required that he be with his sister, whom I call Wendy Darling because she is almost completely surrounded by boys.

Assembling for the group photo 4

Bon was switched for Stargirl, 5, who will pose when and where you want her. It's good to have at least one of those when you're trying something like this. Wendy Darling and Bon are assembled neatly. The standing kids are beginning to rebel - we have about 10 seconds before it all falls apart and somebody gets actually pushed off the stump.

11 kids all looking at the camera

We made it! Somebody fished Garcon and Sauroboy, who are 4, out from under the climber. Sauroboy's dad sneaked behind the stump and held his daughter Baby A aloft. I hit the shutter release about a million times as fast as I could.

Assembling for the group photo 3

And as they all head off to ride Big Wheels as fast as they can down the driveway and into my neighbors' garage (sorry about that, Mrs. Peaches and Mr. Earl!), I get one last shot. Awww. And that's when I realize that we are missing SIX children: Lui and Stacy's two girls, who hadn't arrived yet; Mona and John's two boys, who had already left; Blondie Boy, and Red Man.