This is a story about having to make the most of every second. It’s also the story of how art is everywhere and made by everyone. Sometimes it takes a special person to come along and see everything as art. Sometimes lack of time forces you to see beauty all around.
This is the story of Cody and me.
I’ll set the scene. She’s four. I’m to the right of thirty. When she was three I was pregnant with her sister Mika. I was working full-time. I was taking photographs in every second that I wasn’t either working full-time, crashing out early because of the exhaustion of pregnancy, playing puzzles and reading picture books with her, or making dinners.
I was so time poor that if I wanted to keep being creative then I’d just have to take Cody along for the ride with me because there wasn’t time for both. We hatched a plan to make a book and together we photographed and created our first book “The Alphabet Two Ways” where we both took photographs of the same subject for each letter of the alphabet. We had a big launch party with all our friends and we gave away our books to kindergartens, schools, libraries and random kids we saw. We were inspired.
Cody proudly talks about her book to anyone who asks — she tells them how she set up O is for Orange or where she got the jacket which features for the letter J. We have plans to make a second book soon — Cody wants it to be a how to guide on how to clean your room but I think she needs to practice a little more first.
I gave Cody her first camera at two. The sales guy threw the camera as hard as he could into the ground and said “see, she’ll never break it” and I bought it on the spot.
Cody loves the camera. She loves the way it makes her look at things. Her style is loose and instinctive. She’s not afraid to hit the floor to take get the right angle and she’s not afraid to take photographs of strangers. For the first year of her shooting every image had her finger in the corner. We’d have the images loaded on our computer and they’d flash up as a slideshow. She’d see the finger and yell “that’s my shot!” like her finger was a branding logo which made it instinctively hers.
She’s learned both how to see the world as it is — to find the bit she wants to feature and select her view accordingly — but also to construct an image to photograph. But it’s more than just that. It’s also about a shared vision that she builds with me and a language we connect with. It’s what we do. In true form she says proudly “my name is Cody Danger and I like to take photographs”.
This series started as a playful look at everyday objects shot two ways but it developed into a piece more about our relationship to each other and photography. We turned the camera on each other more than we turned it on the world.