thoughts from the couch


i remember the first time i saw a scene like this through my camera a year or so ago. i stopped with my nikon and pointed my lens in their general direction. then, surprisingly, they all looked up and watched me as i watched them. they froze like animals on display in a zoo, frozen for a brief moment before taking off as fast as they could. pffft – they were gone.

wow, that was something i wasn’t used to! my son grew up with my camera always present, just as much a part of him as it was of me…and therefore it seemed he had an ingrained response within him to simply ignore what i was doing. it left me free to go about my business documenting our life with a camera. this created a sense of “moment undisturbed” in my imagery from early on in his young childhood.

a few days after i initially saw this scene… i walked past all three boys in some sort of play or rest. hmm, there it is again. the couch. the gathering space. the place where they collect… together in their own little worlds. i really wanted to remember this moment. it might be the mess on the floor, the legos scattered. the crooked art or the bright light of early morning. the lacksidazical way they throw themselves about while on the couch, limbs draped over one another in comfort or annoyance. what i was witnessing each time i passed this couch was our family learning how to become family. and it made my heart swell. i desperately wanted it in my camera, but knew the scene scattered each time i brought out the big camera.

one day while i was walking past this scene, instead of reaching for the camera – that scares away boys lost in the moment of childhood – i reached for the iPhone i carry in my back pocket instead. with my volume off, i knelt down and fired off a couple shots without them hearing me or noticing what i was doing. the moment was marked forever in my mind.

and a series was born.


there is something to be said here about thinking in series, yes. seeing your everyday in the same way (same position) every day. i simply love it. because for something that remains the same (the couch a permanent fixture in our home) it changes hourly, daily, weekly… depending on how they gather, their mood, who gathers, their body language, the light, and the initial moment that causes me to stop in my tracks. our circular home lends itself well to this scene. the big yurt has the sense of a traditional “great room” that is created here by the couch. it’s where energy flows and circles throughout the house and  this couch becomes the pivotal center of it all.

the aha! moment of using my iPhone to preserve the moment and leave it undisturbed is what breathes life into this series for me.  these moments would exist only in my mind if i had remained stubborn about shooting them with my high resolution megapixel nikon dslr. the less intrusive iphone keeps them in their world, and keeps me silent as an observer, a mom passing through with the clean folded laundry or smelly compost for the pile. an armload of wood for the stove, or papers for the desk, i can breeze through leaving their mood untouched. and in a moment (with my iphone) i am free to tuck this sweetness into my heart without skipping a beat.

looking over my couch series as a whole is like looking back through time. a documentary of where we are. where we started, how life changed, the mess we make, and what it looks like when we assert energy to tidy up. the light, the love, the family, the cousins, the dark of night, the crazy summer remodel, the real glass windows, the quiet peaceful moments i cherish and the chaos i can’t quite hide.

real life. real goodness for my heart. these are thoughts from the couch.