What is a happy family? What is happiness and how do we measure it?
Is it the lack of bad moments? the lack of problems?
How much does happiness last?
I often question myself about this, especially when revolving thoughts about mine and my daughters’ expat life. But also, I ask myself about happiness when I’m taking pictures of people I just met and who trusted me with the most precious thing they have: the bond they build with their own children.
And I question myself why I choose to document not only the laughing, the hugs and fun moments, but also the crying, the bad humor and the gestures of tiredness and anger.
But a happy family is not one where those things don’t exist. Happy families are the ones who struggle with all that and learn and grow from it.
Happy children cry, sometimes they cry a ton. But they aren’t ignored.
It’s hard for me to understand happiness without empathy and respect, and when I photograph a family, I’m not only drawn to big smiles and moments of joy.
I am also attracted to big hugs given on time.
I want to photograph parents being present. Raising with empathy and awareness. Taking the time to play a game and let them win but also, helping them learn how to lose.
We support and comfort our children every day. No matter if it’s just a silly, unjustified tantrum, or if a pet just passed away and their soul got broken into pieces.
Some days we give them solace and calm while deep inside we are fighting with our own demons and we could use a hug so much.
And we make mistakes. And we learn from them.
And that has little slices of happiness too.
We build happiness. We grow it.
In the meanwhile, we live in a world full of different emotions.
And to be happy is to recognize them all, to deal with the bad ones.
To live the moment, to let go of some things, to enjoy the big laughs and the deep silences.
And to help our children to learn how doing it too.
Can we measure happiness? Does it last forever?
I couldn’t tell.
But when is there, when I see it, I want to capture it.
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