The Short of It
Two moms team up to bring their kids' imaginary friends into focus in their photo illustration series.
Photographer Anna Angenend spent hours behind her camera, documenting her daughter Mia's many milestones during her first few magical years of life. But as Mia grew out of the toddler stage and blossomed into an imaginative preschooler, her mom decided it was time to shift her focus.
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"One morning, several months ago, Mia said to me, ' My yellow monster is kind of scary,' Angenend told Today. "Later in the day, she told me, 'He's not so scary; he just needs a friend.' This was the first time she had talked about an imaginary friend. ... at 3 years old, her imagination and creative play has really soared, and I wanted a new photo series to capture this part of her childhood."
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So she joined forces with illustrator and mom-of-four, Amy Snyder, in order to bring all these imaginary friends to life.
"I shoot the images first," Angenend explained. "The background and furniture is all real. ... I pick the best shot and e-mail the file to Amy for her to sketch the monster and their accessories. Then, Amy scans her illustrations and e-mails them to me so I can sprinkle some Photoshop fairy dust on them."
The resulting series is absolutely amazing because it shows kids hanging out and playing with their imaginary friends. There's the yellow monster, who doesn't like to brush his teeth; a prickly dude named "Larry the Cactus," who has a propensity for popping balloons; and a pink "spirit animal" named Shelia, who comforts Mia whenever she freaks out about getting her hair brushed—genius!
Angenend says she and Snyder plan to continue adding more kids and monsters to the series, and they're even considering putting their monsters into a children's book.
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My daughter had an invisible friend for YEARS when she was little—a boy named Jonah, who went everywhere she did. Then one day, shortly after my son was born, Jonah's mom Zoe apparently called my daughter to tell her that their family was moving away. Interesting timing.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad to see Jonah go. To be honest, I still think about him sometimes. It would've been pretty incredible to have immortalized him—and that all too fleeting moment in my daughter's life—in one of these amazing images.