I first read about 'skinship' through Takako Kido somewhere on Instagram. (Once you see her work you'll realize she's everywhere important.)
Skinship isn't new, but it's new to North America as a practice.
In our part of the world we might call it kangaroo-care, or naturalism.
And yes, it can be startling. At first.
"Skinship is a Japanese word that describes the skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart relationship between a mother and a child or family. It includes various forms of physical closeness; holding hands, cuddling, carrying a child on the back, breastfeeding, co-bathing, co-sleeping and even just playing together, anything which builds intimacy. Through an experience of loving touch, a child learns to care for others. Japanese skinship is considered to be important for strengthening the bond of family and also for the child’s healthy development. Skinship usually continues until a child stops by himself/herself."
for Musee Magazine
"Japanese skinship is considered to be important for strengthening the bond of family and also for the child’s healthy development."
My session with Bethany and Malakai wasn't about skinship.
In fact, looking back at emails Bethany said she probably wouldn't want to be fully nude. But as often happens at my sessions... it just kinda happened. Easily and naturally.
Because don't we often have fleeting moments at home, naked with our very little kids? Either just by fact of co-existing or intentionally like through skinship, our bare bodies are close for a few moments most days.
It's so ordinary if you think about it.
How beautiful the ordinary moments are.
They are the seconds and minutes and hours that fill up our days.
The days that feel like an eternity.
But I've heard something alarming, and I'm sure you've heard it too:
The days are long...but the years are short.
And from what I've experienced this old adage exponentially increases with each additional child.
The philosophy of skinship really intrigues me. It resonates with what I already believe to be true about bodies and love.
Of course, this isn't for everyone.
But it helps me understand why I'm so drawn to skin-on-skin contact specifically in regard to parents and children.
I feel about skinship the same way I feel about bare feet on the ground. Call it earthship. Or dirtship.
There's a literal electrical grounding that happens in our bodies when we touch the earth with our bare feet. And as we know more and more about attachment and bonding and nervous systems, we know that there's an emotional grounding between loving humans that regulates our nervous system.
But it's so ordinary, isn't it?
Comforting a toddler who's slipped in the tub. Or making faces in the mirror while you both get dressed in the morning. Bumping into everyone as you run through the house half-naked looking for your jeans. (They're still on the couch waiting to be folded, by the way.)
If you are a parent interested in documenting the short, but very, very long, ordinary days at home with your growing babies, please use the form below to send me a note.
Or if you're a photographer and you're interested in my mentorship programs, workshops and job-shadowing, please don't hesitate to reach out.