Our Daughter Eliza
Award Winning Photo by David James Coxsell (In-Depth Photos)
Baby & Family Photos
What they mean to me
I was holding my newborn daughter Eliza in my arms, admiring her beauty and looks, then it suddenly dawned on me that I had no pictures of myself as a baby. If there were any, they were possibly lost due to the fact my parents had split when myself and my two brothers were very young. My mother had left without warning leaving my father with the sole responsibility of three young children. We eventually moved from my birth town of Plymouth to be near my fathers family and his hometown of Wolverhampton. Whilst I can't remember much about the move, I can only assume it wasn't an easy decision for my father. To move three young children four hours up the country was surely not going to be an easy task. Especially with all the other responsibilities of moving a family home.
However back to the moment when I was holding my daughter. The realisation that I had no images to compare myself as a baby to her made my heart sink. I'm not a very expressive person and tend to hold things at bay but Louise could see that something was eating me up inside. I have seen many images of Louise as a baby, we have compared their likenesses and even compared Eliza to her sisters as newborns, I didn't want to take this away from them. However the thought that I would never get that chance was devastating and talking about it did help. I needed to accept that there were no images. I began to believe that the possibility of images being lost during the split of my parents and moving homes must have been very high.
I had been debating writing this post, but it is now with my heart filled of joy, that I now write this up.
At my fathers recent birthday meal, we talked about this topic and my brother mentioned that he was sure there were images of me as a child in an envelope somewhere. A couple of weeks later I was handed an envelope which contained images from the first few years of my life. These images were sent to my grandfather from my mother and father whilst they were still together. There wasn't many images but those few images have had such an impact on my life at this stage, being able to look at them and then my daughter brought a tear to my eye, we do have similar features as babies and although most people we see will say 'oh doesn't she have her fathers looks' or something similar, it doesn't ring true until you can see it and believe it yourself.
I started in photography over 15 years ago, but is only within the last few years that I have come to realise the importance of having images of your loved ones available. When myself and Louise got together it wasn't just Louise I was getting into a relationship with. I also took on two beautiful step daughters Olivia & Emily. Seeing them grow, flourish and accept me as part of their life has been extraordinary. We have captured and shared many memories together and we look back at them every once in a while. Not just images I have created and captured as a professional photographer, but also those everyday snapshots and videos we capture on our phones and smaller cameras. With the ever changing technology of how we capture these images, we as a family are now organising our images and getting them printed. Having a print at hand seems to be much more valuable when images can be destroyed and lost so easily via digital storage (this is another blog post in itself).
I would however just like to add that its not just photographs that are important in family life. The small heart warming gifts you give to each other and the love you share are all equally as important. For example the girls still call me Dave, some people find this strange with me being their step-dad but it's perfectly fine with me. They have a father, their father, who loves them dearly and who still plays a vitally important and active part of their life. Having grown up without my biological mother, I am content with the fact that they don't have to deal with the torment of asking themselves why that parent figure isn't there for them. It wasn't until fathers day 2016 the girls surprised me with a hand made card, not something I was expecting but a moment that has a place in my heart forever and they now correct people by telling them that I am their step-dad. They don't call me dad but that doesn't matter one bit, the acknowledgment of the role I play within their lives is much more meaningful than a name.
I love my family dearly and want the world for them all, as i'm sure they would do for me. Now with the addition of Eliza I get to witness stages that I had not been fortunate enough to experience with Olivia & Emily and I will certainly be capturing every element of her journey as much as I can. And as a family we have even more love in our lives, because love isn't shared, it only grows, if you allow it.
Our Daughters as newborns
Top: Eliza - Bottom Left: Olivia - Bottom Right: Emily
Louise & her family
Top: Sisters Claire, Louise & Elaine - Bottom Left: Louise - Bottom Right: Louise & Mum (Paula)
Me & my family
Top Left: Me (Dave) - Top Right: Brothers Me, Paul & John - Bottom Left: Me - Bottom Right: Me & Parents before they split (Karen & Nigel)
Happy Family - Me, Lou & Our Girls with Eliza
Top Left: Louise - Top Right: Me - Bottom Left: Emily - Bottom Right: Olivia