Saturday, 31 January 2009

The trouble with teenagers ...

I read the following article here and it stuck with me enough to want to share it. I'm not sure what the correct procedure for posting articles from someone else's blog is but I hope that acknowledging its source and providing a link is sufficient.

I hope it helps a parent understand their teenager or helps a teenager be understood.

(Dr Mark Goulston)

Have an underperforming J.H.S., H.S. or college kid?
Maybe they’re just lazy…maybe not.
When logic and convincing doesn’t motivate your child
from the outside in, stop doing it…
then try understanding them from their inside out.
One lousy semester, does not a failed year…or life make.

Stop reacting from your frustration

take a deep breath

and read what follows below…

Does it sound like someone you know?

If so, ask them to read it,
ask them which line(s) speak to them and how,
listen, hear and care,
don’t interrupt or give advice unless they ask
and if you’re lucky
and if you haven’t hurt or angered them too much…
they might let you in.
If they do, tell them: “I’m sorry, I never knew you felt so bad,”
Let them get angry at you until they get it out
let them cry and keep crying until they’ve cried themselves out.
Then they might even let you help them
if you ask them the best way to do it
and then you just listen, hear and care…

Don’t be fooled by me.

Don’t be fooled by the face I wear.
For I wear a thousand masks that I am afraid to take off
and none of them are me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me, but don’t be fooled,
for God’s sake don’t be fooled.
I give the impression that I am secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me,
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game;
that the waters are calm and I am in command,
and that I need no one.

But don’t believe me, please.
My surface may seem smooth, but my surface is my mask.
Beneath this lies no complacency.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.

I panic at the thought of my weakness and fear of being exposed.
That is why I frantically create a mask to hide behind;
a nonchalant, sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend, to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation.
My only salvation. And I know it.
That is, if it is followed by acceptance, if it is followed by love.
It is the only thing that will assure me of what I can’t assure myself,
that I am worth something.

But, I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare. I am afraid to.
I am afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance and love.
I am afraid you will think less of me, that you will laugh at me,
and that you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate game,
with a facade of assurance without, and a trembling child within.
And so begins the parade of masks, and my life becomes a front.

I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that is really nothing,
and nothing of what is everything,
of what is crying within me.

So when I am going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I am saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying.
What I would like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say, but I can’t say.

I dislike hiding, Honestly!
I dislike the superficial game I am playing, the phony game.
I would really like to be genuine and spontaneous, and me,
but you have got to help me. You have got to hold out your hand,
even when that is the last thing I seem to want.

Only you can wipe away from my eyes that blank stare of breathing death.
Only you can call me into aliveness.

Each time you try to understand and because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings, very small wings, very feeble wings, but wings.

With your sensitivity and sympathy, and your power of understanding,
you can breathe life into me.

I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be the creator of the person that is me if you choose to.
Please choose to.

You alone can break down the wall
behind which I tremble, you alone can remove my mask.

You alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic and uncertainty;
From my lonely prison.

Do not pass me by.
Please… do not pass me by.

It will not be easy for you;
a long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.

The nearer you approach me, the blinder I strike back.

I fight against the very thing I cry out for. But I am told that
love is stronger than walls, and in this lies my hope.

Please try to beat down those walls with firm hands,
but with gentle hands–for a child is very sensitive.

Who am I, you may wonder? I am someone you know very well.
For I am everyone you meet, I am me and I am you.

– Charles C. Finn

Sunday, 25 January 2009


No, I haven't been out of the country again. I photographed baby India this week and despite showing me her more serious, contemplative side for much of the session, she broke out the biggest smiles at just the right times.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Babe in Arms

If my Dad were still alive he would be turning 68 tomorrow (he died when he was 50). Even though we didn't get along that well, I sometimes mourn the loss of the opportunity to hope for a better relationship with him. So in honour of all dad's and their daughters, and in the hope they do a much better job of loving their little girls (and boys!) than my dad did, here's a recent favourite.

Hannah safe in the arms of her Dad.

5, 3 & 8 month-old-twins

The good thing about having a small shooting space means they can't run far! I think we all anticipated this could be a challenge getting all 4 kids to cooperate at the same time but I think we did an amazing job. No tears, no tantrums - just gorgeous kids. Phew!

Friday, 16 January 2009

La Balsa Family Portraits

Once your fledglings start scattering with the wind, getting them all in one place becomes increasingly rare. The next time it might happen is when one of them gets married and then the family dynamic changes. So Anita grabbed the opportunity when her three 'babies' came together for Christmas, to get family portraits. Scheduling was a bit tricky between Joe's social activities but we squeezed it in before he darted off to Byron with his mates.

Moffat Beach Family Portraits

I first met baby Ruby when she came in for her Impressionable Kids portrait sitting. This time we headed outdoors for a location shoot with her Mum, Dad, Uncle and Grandma.I know it looks like we're in an amazing jungle but I assure you we were at Moffat Beach.

You have to be careful when you encourage brothers to relax and be themselves.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Pt Cartwright Family Portraits

What do you do when your sister flies in from London for Christmas? Get the whole family together for a family portrait of course. I spent a lovely afternoon with Vanessa and her family, firstly at the family home in Mooloolaba and then down to Pt Cartwright for some variety. A really fun family and relaxed in front of the camera, but I gotta say I think the dogs stole the show. How adorable are they?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Family Portraits on the beach (and the park)

Time for a break from Cambodia photos (don't worry, plenty more to come, haha), and time to share some of the great families I've gotten to photograph since I've been back. Let's start with Corinne's crew playing in the park and frolicking on the sand at Golden Beach. Gorgeous girls, one who was really keen to help me out, the other was really keen to completely ignore me.