One of my favourite editing gigs is as copyeditor for the Journal of Childhood Studies. I work with an amazing team, and every issue I learn so much about early learning and children’s complex worlds. I’ve just finished working on a fascinating issue on young children and the visual arts. In one of the articles, Maria Iafelice, docent program manager at the Toledo Museum of Art, talks about an art project she engaged in with a group of young children in Ohio. The children were given digital cameras and invited to take pictures of their art-making process. When Iafelice looked at the photographs, she found herself drawn to the blurry, out of focus ones. She came to see them as visual metaphors for the moments of connection and interaction that occurred in the classroom as the children made art.
This art project came into my mind on the weekend when my three-year-old grand-girl, Ilsa, asked if she could take some pictures with my camera. She took a whole series of interesting shots of the family’s feet, the furniture, and her baby brother’s toys. Like Iafelice, the photos I liked best were the blurry ones.
Iafelice and the children cut their blurry photos into pieces and made a collage. I’d like to try that with these photos of Ilsa’s when she comes to visit the farm this spring. It will be fun to see what emerges from the interconnection of shadowy colour with dark and light. On the other hand, each picture holds so much beauty in its wholeness. Like clouds at sunset, the blurry photos hint at hidden stories waiting to be told.
A blurry photography
by Martha Ronk
The tree azalea overwhelms the evening with its scent,
defining everything and the endless fields.
Walking away, suddenly, it slices off and is gone.
The visible object blurs open in front of you,
the outline of a branch folds back into itself, then clarifies—just as you turn away—
and the glass hardens into glass
as you go about taking care of things abstractedly
one thing shelved after another, as if they were already in the past,
needing nothing from you until, smashing itself on the tile floor,
the present cracks open the aftermath of itself.