So this is my first blog post, the first of many I hope! I wanted to start by introducing myself, and sharing the story behind Little Pandas Photography. So hi, I’m Kelly 🙂 I am the photographer behind Little Pandas. I am also a mother to five beautiful children, and wife to a wonderful husband. Little Pandas is my step into the unknown, my deep end. It is the culmination of a lifetime passion for photography, which stems from my infant days.
As a child I grew up knowing that the undeveloped roll of black and white film that sat in the sideboard drawer contained my baby photos, the only photos that existed of me before I turned four. I am the youngest of five children, and I can only assume that my parents felt they’d already been there and done that, so they didn’t really stop to take photos of me. I felt so many emotions about this as I grew. Embarrassment, when I had to take in a photo of my sister to school when we were asked to provide a baby photo so people could try to guess who was who (funnily enough, no-one guessed it was me!). Sadness, when my older siblings teased me and joked that I wasn’t photographed because I was an accident and was never meant to exist (which is true, my Mum was sterilised after she had my sister, and then along I came!). Anger, when I saw photos of my two brothers and two sisters and felt that my parents just didn’t care enough about me to want to remember me as I was then. I even went through a phase of being convinced I must be adopted!
Don’t get me wrong, my parents loved me. Mum went out of her way to reassure me that I was wanted the moment she knew she was pregnant with me. Dad had Cine film (early video footage, with no sound) of me coming home from hospital, being cuddled by my Mum and resented by my sister 😉 But I still felt the presence of that undeveloped film in the drawer.
When I was a teenager I decided I would take it upon myself to take the film to be developed. I was devastated when i was told it was just too degraded, they couldn’t get anything off of it. That was it, the last hope. No photos of me as a baby would ever exist. I vowed that if I ever had a child I would make sure I documented every moment.
I remember borrowing my Mum’s camera on holiday when I was around 8, taking photos of my brother and sister playing in the holiday park. Then being bought my own little camera when i was 11 or 12. My first “decent” camera when i was 16 (it had a zoom lens, it seemed decent to me). My sister “borrowing” it without my permission and then being burgled and it being stolen, but her buying me a better one with the insurance money. By the time my first child arrived, when I was 19, I was already in love with photography. I stuck to my vow, photographed her often and developed the film. She has photographs to look back on, jokes about how chubby she was as a baby and me bathing her in a washing up bowl. But the fact that she has those moments means the world to me.
I had my second child 7 years later, and the digital age had arrived. I embraced it, took more photos of my son than I had even my daughter. Every new outfit, every new expression. I loved it. Almost 3 years later my 3rd child arrived. Whilst in hospital after having her my husband brought a surprise parcel to me that had been delivered whilst I did. It was a top of the range compact camera, I had won it in a competition! It had arrived at such an opportune moment. I loved how my photos were better quality, how I had some creative control over them. But by the time my 4th child arrived ,19 months later, I had outgrown it. I longed for more control, to tell my camera exactly what I wanted it to do rather than letting it decide for me. My husband bought me my first dslr, and I never looked back! When my own surprise 5th child was born I took so many photos of him, used him as my model (and still do!). None of my children will ever feel the way I did, they are captured for prosperity, every wrinkly, hairy, squished little inch of them. Those newly hatched photos are some of my favourites, because I know how much they will mean to my children.
Its taken me almost 7 years to get to this point, to learn how to use my camera properly, to feel confident to show my work to others and have them hire me to take photos of their little ones. But I am so passionate about this. I know what it means to be without those photos, those memories. I want to capture them for other parents, so those little tiny fingers and toes, that little cowlick or wispy fine hair, that little button nose last forever. Because your babies need those photos just as much as you do.