Susan Sontag

What a force she was.  Google her and you’ll find quotes on more topics than you’ll ever have time to read.   One of her many noted observations appeared in the New York Times Magazine a week or so ago.

She said, and I quote: “Cameras go with family life. Not to take pictures of one’s children, particularly when they are small, is a sign of parental indifference.”


I have nothing but admiration for Sontag.  She was artist, photographer, mother, lover, philosopher, activist.  But she only had one kid.  So, I can assume that she frequently had one, if not two, free hands, in which to carry and operate a camera.

How different my life was and it had nothing to do with the whole artist, activist stuff.  It had to do with the number of children we had and the number of available hands I had at any given time.  I can only say that photographing them, as cute as they were from time to time, was not always front and center on my to-do list.

Nonetheless, I’ve stewed about that quote since I read it.  Many feelings arise:  Guilt.  Shame.  Remorse.  Regret.

Then I remember that having three boys, all at one point under the age of three, was not about capturing the moment on film or diligently documenting their lives. Most days were dedicated, simply to surviving and keeping them alive and well.  Hoping they’d still be ready to greet the next day, just being regular kids.

So,If all that photographic documentation of their lives is missing, I hope their imaginations can fill in the blanks. Some things are better that way anyway. And, frequently, just that much more fun.