Jan. 10, Seventeenth Day of Christmas.  Feast of St. William of Bourges, a French bishop of the 10th century, known for his success in converting many members of the Albigensian heresy.

"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Afon: his hair grows longer and wilder each day.  I don't have the heart to cut the curls off.  I know that when I do, there's a chance that they may not come back, or come back brown instead of the sun-blond.  His third Christmas was calm; we were subdued with illness and our extended family number dwindled with distance.  He played quietly with his presents, but by the end of the day he'd gravitated back to the little wooden creche to play happily with his baby Jesus and shepherds.

He's extremely active these days, but I'm more and more certain that it's a sign of intelligence.  When given a something with which to draw or color, he can sit for an hour at a time; but he is particular.  Once finished, he wants a fresh, clean sheet of paper.  He will draw the same thing, over and over again, for weeks, then move on to a new subject.  He only has to see something done once to master it.  He learned "pointillism" in this way (after watching me test a dry marker by tapping it); he's filled the apartment with suns these past months.  On Wednesday, his new teacher taught him the art of self-portraiture.  Now he covers page after page with his dual-icon: two circles, one large, one small, each with two lines down and two out in opposite directions (legs and arms), and three dots for eyes and mouth: "baby and mama."  I ask him who the people are.  Sometimes, he touches my face to indicate me or says "baby"--then it's the both of us.  Other times, he says "Jesus," and I know it's an icon of the Holy Mother and Child.

I'm renewing my commitment to the 52 portraits project this year and hoping that my late start is not a sign of the year to come.  I'm determined to follow-through this time, and I am much more obstinate about completing something if I've started it correctly.  I don't know that I would have taken as many pictures of my son as I did if I hadn't been looking for portraits to post, even though I lost momentum toward the end of the year, with everything going on.  For those hectic, crowded months, I love what I captured of him.  I hope that through practiced luck and a bit of blind skill (not backwards!) I'll be able to capture him again this year--a reinforcement to my more important commitment to bask him with my attention, acceptance, and affection.

Photography-wise, I want to learn my camera better; understand exposure; and focus on composition.  Teaching myself and my camera to focus on certain points is a skill that continues to allude me.  Even in the photos above, the focus is on his hand and sweater rather than his face.  I'd happily hear any advice visiting 52-ers have to offer.



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