07 July 2013

Little Girl Portrait

Little Girl Portrait
Portraits Of My Adopted Cousin Nikki

Since I started working in Manila, my time spent at home for vacation is short and limited. As such that my family takes an extra effort to have everyone present when I am around. Sweet! And since I am the family's self proclaimed pro-photographer, I tasked myself to take the portrait of each of my beloved siblings including relatives that actually lived with us.

The little girl featured in this post is my adopted cousin Nicole or Nikki as we call her. Mind you, before Nikki came into our lives as an adopted daughter of my Aunt, we were already a big family with Six children of Five rowdy boys and only One girl. My parents tried to conceive children whenever my Dad is at home and off work from his Seafaring job. Off course, they had wanted to have another girl-princess in the family, unfortunately my Mom had a miscarriage on their supposedly 7th child that she was carrying for 7 months, it was the girl that they had been hoping for. It had been many years now, but it brought grief to both my parents, even now, about Six years since it happened; they'd both fall silent and cry remembering the loss.

The boys are growing up, and while they are loved and allowed to go as rowdy as they can, it's not easy to hold fast to growth, my Dad loves to have children around him, noisy as it is, the children's laughter's and playfulness makes him happy just watching over them like the great Patriarch that he was. He's asking for grand children, just unfortunate that he married late, so his first Born's which is me and my sister, were both raised to be smart and practical adults that we are now are not yet ready for such a set up.

Nikki's coming into our lives was a blessing. She is a 2nd child of a Single Mom, she was offered to my Aunt weeks prior to her birth, as her real grandparents can't take another fatherless child to feed and take care off. My Aunt on the other hand is separated from her husband; she stays with us to help take care of our only surviving Grandma. Mind you, my Aunt doesn't know how to take care of children more so in raising one. So it came to pass that everyone in the family, even my younger brothers took turns watching over Nikki as she grows, day by day becoming one of the boys in the family, it's not surprising that she thinks of my Parents as her own, my Sister became like a surrogate Mom tending to her needs from Diapers to formula milks, as for me, I was her Ninong that comes home once in a while bringing her chocolates and goodies that she devours with gusto. Such a voracious feeder, from Time to time, my Mom would bring home dresses she could find in thrift shops and departments stores, it seems like my Mom found her own little Barbie-Princess to dress, my Dad on the other hand found a grandchild he can watch over, spoil and dote, she keeps him happy and pre-occupied.

I set up to take these photos, hanging a white cotton bed sheet on a wall, I have no extra flashes or speed lights, just an external flash that I can rotate to achieve a bounce light. The set was easy, but encouraging Nikki to do poses for me was the real challenge. I didn't know it would be very difficult to take portraits of children; for one thing Nikki is use to moving around a lot, we have a big house, and she's used to walking around, wobbling confidently like a landlord. Her attention span is very short, and she doesn't like to look directly at the camera, so the few shots with her looking at the lens is considered a lucky shot. While she is basking for the attention she's getting from being photographed, I only got her to stand in front of the camera for just a few minutes after her Kuya's (my younger brothers) had done posing for me.

Looking at these frames, I'm glad to have taken them personally, and as it is, they are ready to be printed for her and my family to cherish and remember in the years to come. Was it difficult to photograph children? It was my first time but yes it was, but I can say that the rewards are worth the effort. My family would be looking at these frames in a few months from now, to be hung in the wall with the other portraits, including mine.

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