One of the marvels of childhood is a quality of seeing, a freshness of perceiving that as we grow older, is so often taken for granted. A child’s first encounter with seeing a bird standing still, or the way rain falls–each is a sudden entry into a deeper awareness of what is here among us–and, in turn, what so naturally becomes part of the vibrant vocabulary of being a child.
The arts, and so often photography, have always attempted to bring us closer to the vibrancy of our first sightings–images still alive with a sense of the present moment. A few months ago, teacher and photographer, Helen Buttfield, died at the age of 89. Her photographs and our publishing collaborations were, and continue to be, a vital part of the philosophy of the Touchstone Center. When I first encountered Helen’s photographs, some fifty years ago, I was moved and inspired by her ability to capture, through her particular way of seeing, something of a child’s earliest discoveries of the abundance that is our world.