In the summer of 2009, I began my first significant European adventure in London where I spent a few days with some family who were traveling there as well. On the day of my arrival we found ourselves in the back of a hackney cab heading toward the touristy but fun Tower of London. As with the big Yellow and Checker cabs of my Chicago youth, these taxis have additional small fold-down seats facing rearward. My nephew, the smallest among us sat in one of those seats and put his head out the window, a feat usually solely reserved for the wisdom of dogs.
I’ve always enjoyed this image, but as time has passed, I’ve come to realize why. To me it captures the fleeting nature of youth. Usually it’s difficult to capture the passage of time in a static image, but this one captures an instance of youth that is all too soon to be gone. This nephew whose silliness I have always loved will soon be in college and before I blink may be admonishing (or encouraging) his own children when they put their own heads out of the window of a moving vehicle.
As a simple aside, this is actually the very first of thousands of images I took that summer as I traveled through England, France, Hungary, Ukraine and Bulgaria. In many ways that summer was a formative time for me which unfurled, just as my nephew’s life, from this particular moment frozen in time.