It’s a Big World Out There

An estimated 130 million babies are born each year. A little over 11 months ago, my daughter was one of them.

Like other new parents, I take a lot of pictures of her.1

To manage them I set aside the first Saturday of each month to review and organize the photos. On the second Saturday of each month I write her a note. When I started, I imagined they’d be deep and poetic, full of truths only a father could tell his daughter but I find myself neither deep nor poetic.

Instead, my father-to-daughter notes are a sleep deprived, slightly robotic ramble through our month together. Look, we went to the park; Look, here you are with your grandparents; Look, you were a crazy mess when you started eating solids.1

While slightly mundane, it’s a nice exercise. It gets me to slow down and think about time and life. It’s also, in a very practical, have-you-no-sentimental-bone-in-your-body kind of way, great for organizing the thousands of photos I’ve taken since she was born.

Basically, I tag, rate and generally add metadata to the photos in Adobe Lightroom to (hopefully) make them more discoverable. I then edit the few that go into her note in Photoshop. When I’m done, I make sure they, along with the rest, are backed up first on Dropbox and then on Amazon S3.

As said, this is the unsentimental side of writing to my daughter. It came about after not doing any organizing of the sort last year and feeling buried for weeks on end trying to dig my way out of it.

Depending on the situation, I shoot with either a camera or my phone. Both have their advantages. But the end result is digital detritus unless I do something with it. For me that’s organizing them and eventually creating physical prints and books. Year one of my life with my daughter is currently in the works. Here’s a poster I made a few months ago for my wife’s birthday.

The sentimental side, of course, are moments that once captured will never go away. It’s marking our journey and history together. It’s tracking a new life in all its glorious and messy particulars.

Look, here you are staring at the great big world on a flight to California.

Looking out the window on flight to California.

Somewhere over America. June 31, 2018. iPhone 8+, edited with Snapseed.

  • How many? Approximately a shit ton if you’re looking for specifics back
  • Part of this is not knowing my audience. As in, I’m not quite sure when I’ll actually give her these accumulated missives. My assumption is some milestone birthday, say 13 or 18.

    What I write about – and how I write about it – will be very different depending on when she first reads it. back