It’s been a while since my last update here, as there’s been a lot on the back-burner here. The constant stream of Nell updates that flows through my social media reminds me daily that I need to finish this story. So, here it is. Part 2 of meeting Nell in Seoul.
I mentioned last time how much this assignment made me remember the importance of what I do as a photographer, and the second session was no different from the first. Capturing Bates leading Nell cautiously through the playground for the first time and the first flower Nell’s mother picked for her. These moments are why what we do is important; being able to hold those memories in still frames to keep forever.
Today’s session started out with Nell pouring over the photos from our last session with her family. Her love photographs of herself clearly evident. As we walked to the park, stopping to sniff a flower here or there, small gestures of trust on Nell’s part were made in the form of brief handholding and smiles from the arms of her foster mother again.
The playground was too much to resist, however. She quickly made her way down and began to play on everything with her family. The seesaw got a short innings, before heading for the slide and walking with Bates around the perimeter. This was all too much in the end, and Nell sat down for a carton of milk almost as big as herself. Poking a straw straight into the carton, she was content to just sip away and watch the other children play.
We snatched her up for a quick family photo at the end, which she was not entirely thrilled about, but we managed a frame before she decided it was time to leave. With her favourite word, kaja (let’s go), she was off. Again, all too soon, we watched Nell take her leave – this time she blew a kiss on her way down the path.