To stay connected with our children, through thick and thin, is the deepest need of every parent. We all hope to never feel like our children exist in a world that is separate from our own, wishing instead to handle life’s challenges hand in hand, shaped by the same values, hopes, and dreams.
Today, maintaining a close connection with one’s children is harder than ever before. Not only are people leading hectic lives—filled with schoolwork, career aspirations, and extracurricular obligations—the divide between the generations is more marked than at possibly any other time in history. Kids today are growing up in a digital world that is altogether different than the one their parents inhabited as children. It’s defined by social media, rather than play dates; apps instead of Barbie dolls and toy cars. As such, understanding the pressures our children face, the priorities they have, and even the language they use to express themselves, can feel like an uphill climb. How do we reach into their world and share in the things that are shaping them as they grow?
There is no one easy answer to this question—but there are proven ways to keep the lines of communication open and find common passions that transcend the digital divide. While shooting this amazing family photography in Nicosia, I was reminded that one of the things I enjoy every day—creativity—is also one of the best ways to bring families together.
Whether you’re completing a craft project together at home, helping to paint a community mural, shooting beautiful family photography in Nicosia, or even sowing a garden together, creative expression should be a vital part of family life. Art of any kind (no matter how humble) has the power to tap into hidden parts of our psyche, uncovering the thoughts and feelings that we often overlook during our day to day lives. When this kind of activity is engaged in as a family, it can weave together disparate points of view and forge a collective emotional experience—one that is unifying, empowering, and ultimately freeing.
When we discover what moves us together, we create the foundation for shared goals, cooperation, and collaboration. We learn not only how to work with others, but why we work with others: because it’s enriching and leads to surprising, often stunning end results. It’s a journey that takes us through unexpected twists and turns, as ideas build upon ideas, culminating in a final creation that everyone can be proud of.
Take this amazing family photography in Nicosia, for example. Eleonora and her family have made shooting family photography one of their artistic traditions (this is the second time now that they have worked with me). Each shoot is an act of creative communion, between myself, the elements of nature, and the inspiration and energy brought to the shoot by the family.
Each family I work with starts by updating me on their lives, then I suggest the perfect location to provide the ideal setting, using my intimate knowledge of both Cyprus and lighting conditions. Last time, I chose Kourin Cliffs in Limassol for Eleonora and family; this time, we headed to a little-known place in Klirou Village in Nicosia District where I knew the lush spring flowers would be fully in bloom, silhouetting the family in gradients of white, green, and pink.
Seeing that the family had brought their Akita dog this time—Simba—we explored themes of contrast (the dark and majestic hound against the light and soft backdrop), loyalty (so wholly embodied by the protectiveness dogs feel for their families), and the simple joy of togetherness that happens when we set aside our worries and our cares, immersed in the renewed bounty of nature flowering all around us. In these photos, it is said without words: As long as we have the love of family, each day is a new beginning. That, above all else, is the lesson families learn when they create together.