When my wife was pregnant with our first child, well before Pinterest was a thing (heck…before Facebook was a thing), I remember getting an email forward from a friend who suggested I try something rather elaborate with my daughter when she was born. She sent me pictures that had kind of become viral (back when viral was special and actually meant that what you did was impressive) of what is affectionately known as blanket art. In these particular pictures, a sleeping baby was sent into all sorts of incredible worlds all thanks to some cleverly composed colorful blankets. I fell in love with this concept and planned on utilizing it once my little angel was born.
Sadly, my angel was born a banshee; a pint sized screamer suffering from…colic. No, it wasn’t her fault, but for three straight months I don’t think she slept (nor did I) as I literally paced with her in the ‘football hold’ while she screamed her tiny little head off.
Put her down…and take the time to strategically place towels and blankets around her to create the illusion of a ‘dream’?
Never going to happen.
A few years later someone gave us a little book called, ‘When My Baby Sleeps’. It’s a charming book by Adele Enersen who photographed pictures of her daughter, Mila, in; you guessed it, blanket art. Looking at the pictures, I swore they were the same pictures I’d seen in that email, but they were a few years apart (my daughter was born in 2007 and this book was released in 2012, and apparently her blog didn’t surface until 2010) and since I can’t find the original email to corroborate I’ll just say that they were not.
Regardless, this whole concept is pretty awesome and I love it, which is all that really matters.
Fast-forward to now, ten years after my eldest was born, and I’ve found myself re-fascinated by the concept of towel art thanks to a very special Instagramer known as @Dear.Brody. Every Friday, Brian Boozier creates art using a hodgepodge of towels, blankets, clothes and other miscellaneous items, and his son, Brody.
I’m on Instagram a lot. I use it to network for work purposes, gathering contacts and conversing with clients. I use it to keep up with friends and be a part of their lives. I use it to share parts of myself and expose others to my work. But, a lot of what I find Instagram useful for is inspiration. I follow others and their work and am in awe of the things they do. Even artists who don’t fall in the same field as I do are still inspiring in the ways they craft their passions into such beautiful work. I find Brian incredibly inspiring, not only because of his clear passion for his craft, but because of his ability to bare his soul in a way that feels so honest and so poignant.
You see, Brian has a very special story to tell, and as you are well aware, I’m all about storytelling.
If you head over to Brian’s website (which is in new development, so don’t be turned off by the lack of content as I’m sure it will be filling up soon) you’ll get a glimpse of his story, which centers around a couple determined to have a child despite the crushing reality that they could not, and the beautiful gift of adoption that has opened their hearts and their world in the best possible way. If you head over to his Instagram account, you’ll get much more than a glimpse; you’ll see letter after letter written to his young son, filled with observations, concerns, life lessons and everything in between. I told Brian a few weeks ago that his posts have the ability to make me smile and cry all at the same time thanks to his beautiful use of clever imagery and powerful words.
I’ve written about adoption before. I have a very close childhood friend who was adopted when we were very young, and I had the honor of photographing a very special adoption day not too long ago. I find the whole process to be an astonishingly beautiful one. The creating of family through the shared bonds of love and affection is such a beautiful thing to witness, and the truth that adoption proves, that family means so much more than ‘blood relation’, is such a poignant and important truth.
Scrolling through Brian’s Instagram feed, there is no doubt of the love he has for his young son. That boy is his world, and reading through his letters (as well as some penned by his wife) is an absolute joy; heartwarming and reaffirming at the same time. What is even more impressive is that Brian is brutally honest, exposing his own fears and flaws in order to help others possibly dealing with the same situations. The way he talks of self doubt is commendable, and the way he champions the determination to succeed in his role as a father makes him so easy to root for.
Whether Brian is questioning the reflection his son sees or crossing fingers his son grows up to a soccer career or simply basking in the sunshine that is fatherhood, he does it in a humble and engaging way. With every shared memory and experience and observation, Brian is letting us in and making us family.
And that still says nothing about the elaborate visual spectacles he creates every Friday night! I think the best thing to do at this point is just show you what I’m talking about:
Each week, Brian uses pictures and words to get right to the heart of fatherhood, and for that I couldn’t be happier.
My eldest is 10 now, and so we are way past the blanket art stage of things, but I feel like I can connect to Brian’s approach because the way he looks at these images and the time spent creating them is the same way I feel about the time I spend photographing my own children, and the images that time produces. Recently I spoke about a special project I worked on with my daughter, and in those images I see the pieces of her, the pieces of me, the questions and the answers that are so often found if we look hard enough. The adage goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, and while that is something I’ve always believed, it has never been more real to me than it is now that I’m spending most of my days taking pictures. The beautiful thing about pictures, though, is that they are worth so many different words depending on the person looking at them.
When you look at Brian’s pictures, what words do you hear?