My New Year's Promise
Sometimes, I receive a heartfelt message or letter from a client who is grieving a loss of a loved one. They express immense gratitude for the photos from their session with me and I am filled with compassion and empathy. I also get a renewed sense of meaning behind what I do. I mean, I know why I do what I do-- our families, our lives, our loves-- the bigger picture of this life-- deserve to be documented, remembered, and celebrated. But sometimes I can lose sight of that, when personally I am always wondering, "Am I really making a difference?", "Could I do more?", "What else could I do to make an impact on the lives of others?" I think we all have that search for meaningful purpose in our lives, and at the start of a new year especially.
This weekend a client and friend of mine lost a love of twelve years. She stated, "Photos long outlast the moment. That's why we go to the trouble of taking them. I'm so glad we did and that I have these images... Your eye for the natural is a beautiful thing. Catching true and real personalities in the images."
Photos can bring back things you thought you'd forgotten. The sound of her laugh comes back when you remember what you were talking about that day. Her voice as she called down the hallway, "Hawney!!"... There's a million things. A million reasons why photography is of high value, for generations after us as well.
It is an investment.
Just taking the time to do a session every year or two, will be an investment that you will never regret. We keep putting things off, but they grow so fast. Our parents are getting older. There will be so many changes that happen so fast! You will never have this time again and you will miss the opportunity. One year it may be taking the first steps, another- potty training, to another- learning how to read, to another- algebra and having crushes. We may regret purchasing certain material things, etc., but no one EVER regrets investing in their memories, their life, their history, their loves.
When asked what one thing people would choose to save in a fire, the most common answer is the family photos. So, if photography is valued so highly.... Why are we not valuing photography?
It should be a priority.
Documentary photography is taking over. Why? Because a smiling face from your IPhone will not convey the same things as real life documentation from a professional, including composition and other artistic aspects that comes from a creative eye. First of all, you will be included in the photographs. Second... remember his favorite stuffed animal that he couldn't sleep without? Remember the old house? Look at that face! He would crinkle his nose like that for years. He would cry when his sister would cry... Or, remember when mom would sing that same song when she put on her make-up? That is all a part of it. Invest in your own history.
When I was in school, we weren't allowed to pose anything. Most people nowadays still want that "smiling faces shot", and that's fine. You should have some of those every now and then. But there's so much more in the world of photography. It's my job to educate, to show people what is available that they just may not be aware of. They want the social media craze of what "family" is supposed to look like. I can still hear my instructor talking about the "smiling faces shot"... "That tells me nothing. Nothing about them. All it shows is how they looked at that time." Documentary photography captures connections and bonds, how we relate to one another. It can convey such powerful messages- how hard parenthood really is, childlike outlooks on life, and again, how you connect and relate to each other, and that love where nothing else in the world really matters. It proves the meaning of your life. It shows that you loved and were loved. It pulls you back into what life was actually like in the chaos of it all. So beautiful.
Get the laundry in there too. This is what your life looked like while you had three toddlers running around. It was messy, and loud. And wonderful. Someday, you are going to reminisce because that will be all you have. Your kids will as well. This investment isn't just for you.
I've had too many people ask if I had something-anything more of so and so, could I look again... Always needing as much as they possibly could hold onto after a loved one passes. I had a daughter ask for photos of her mom, when sadly, mom had done what way too many moms do and decided she only wanted photos of the kids. She hated getting her picture taken. That always breaks my heart.
This year, I will be sending out newsletters on how to overcome certain issues, including negative body image, and even how to overcome your budget, so that you can make your priorities happen. Stay tuned. I will be giving away deals and steals for "Day in the Life" photo sessions. Documenting your real life. Eeeeessshk!! It will be great.
The new year promise I made to myself and to my clients was to be more emphatic about promoting documentary photography and it's significance. I am reminded of Henry Ford's famous quote, "If I gave my customers what they thought they wanted, we'd still be on horses."
Check out these two sessions of "A Day in the Life" family sessions:
I will do better in showing documentary family photography.
Stay tuned and thank you for reading!
Many Blessings in 2018!