As a photographer, I have been dreading the self-consciousness that comes with my children's impending adolescence. One of my greatest joys has been to watch my two sons passionately explore their world and realize their intrinsic goals–such as tasting fresh snow or feeling like a superhero or running spontaneously through a garden–without the limits of self-consciousness or the pressures of expected behavior in society. As they begin to tread into the self-conscious realm of adolescence, and I can see the beginning traces in these photographs, I have come to understand how free they have been.
This ephemeral freedom makes me wonder about my extrinsic motivations and convoluted goals.
How drastically are my decisions and ambitions tied to what I think other people think?
How much does self-consciousness dictate my decisions, influence my life's path, and steer my sense of what is right and what is wrong?
We are all touched by innocent and sentimental images of childhood, though perhaps these images are actually sparking a longing for our loss of personal freedom. These images of childhood bring to mind the self-consciousness that has lead to the societal conformity and emotionally binding behavior ithat so many of us have become entrenched in as adults.
Laurie Swope is an editorial and fine art photographer living north of Boston. Her work ranges from portraiture, to documentary, to landscape, and botanical. After years of experience shooting events and daily news for local papers, the moments she chooses to document now are the non-events, the quiet and unnoticed moments that seem insignificant, but are often the most precious and easily lost.
Laurie's fine art series Before Self-Consciousness,
a long-term photojournalistic study of her sons' journey from uninhibited childhood to the beginnings of self-consciousness was recently awarded an Honorable Mention in the International 2018 MonoVisions Photography competition. Her work has also been included in several international juried shows.