Documentary family photography is something I’m incredibly passionate about. I think about it a lot and the value of the images we make for future generations. I take any opportunity I can to spread the word to other parents about why making pictures of every day stuff is so important.
The other day while procrastinating on the Fearless and Framed® website (avoiding housework), I was struck by something Marie had written, “document all the seasons of life.”
I realized that I’ve been blissfully ignoring all other aspects of mine and my husband’s life. That all of my creative energy was focused on documenting everything I find so wonderful about childhood, that I was neglecting to record the parts of our life which are just ours. That made me feel a little sad.
So, I decided to change it. I decided I’d start to actively document our lives, whether the kids were involved or not.
As it turned out ‘the boys’ were due to catch up at our place that night. I had been hearing about the plans for their “sinker making night” for a few weeks: much discussion about making moulds from clay (that didn’t work), the best techniques for making sinkers and most importantly, how many boxes of “Hop Thief” (beer) they’d need for such an undertaking.
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They all arrived and got straight to business.
Cutting and melting down the scrap metal, pouring the moulds, figuring it out as they went along. I didn’t take a ton of images, as I was busy juggling dinner and bedtime for our girls, but I was able to capture enough to tell the story.
It was such a pleasure to shoot!
They paid no attention to the camera, joking and laughing, sharing stories as they worked, ribbing each other over who had the greatest sinker making skills.
These men have been friends for many, many years — two of them since they were kids. They fish together most weekends during summer in the nearby lake. Sometimes they even manage to bring home a few red fin & yellow belly for dinner!
Over the years, we’ve been on many a camping trip, taken beach holidays and shared beers at countless BBQs. They’re a big part of our family’s life (one of them is my brother). Having a record of their exploits is pretty special to me and something I will do again.
The boys themselves were a bit bemused about why I would want to photograph them making sinkers, but they rolled with it anyway. I’m sure some day they’ll get it, even if it’s lost on them right now.
I am so grateful that I procrastinated in front of the computer that day, instead of folding the washing, so thank you Marie! I’ll continue to “document all the seasons of life!”
Writing + photographs contributed by Billie Leatham.
About Billie Leatham: Billie Leatham is a documentary family photographer based in rural Victoria, Australia. She has three young girls with her husband and embraces imperfection as her muse. Her life is no where near perfect but it is beautiful. Billie also works as a teachers aide at a primary school in her spare time. Facebook // Instagram