When my father passed away recently, we found ourselves poring through old photographs, looking for great shots of him. Dad was a competent photographer with a darkroom in his basement, my mom was an artist and pretty handy with a camera, my stepmother always has a camera in her purse, my sisters and I are photographers and artists… you get the picture. We had lots to choose from. But the selection of family photographs, with every one of us in them, was slim. There were a few from aunts’ and uncles’ weddings in the seventies, and a couple that I set up with a tripod on those rare recent occasions when we were all in the same city. Those few shots are priceless.
This week I learned that a local mom is starting hospice care, way too young. We never know what life will bring, and photographs are one of the best ways we have to capture memories so we can revisit them for years to come. I fervently hope her husband and her daughters have photographs that will bring them joy.
Thanks to cell phones it sometimes seems like we have more than enough pictures these days. But are you printing and/or archiving those so your children and grandchildren will be able to see them in ten, twenty, fifty, or even a hundred years? Will the fuzzy, low resolution cell phone snaps you posted on Facebook make you happy in ten years? What about when your hard drive dies, or Facebook is a distant memory and the next thing has replaced it?
And are YOU in those pictures? Moms in particular seem to carefully leave themselves out. We think we’re too fat, our hair isn’t right, we smile funny… Of course none of that is important (usually it’s only in our minds anyway), and the people we love don’t care about any of it. Years from now, they’ll just wish they had some photographs of the whole family, and of Mom. When I photograph families I always include some images of each parent with the kids… what would it mean to you to have pictures
of you with your parents? What will it mean to your children to have those pictures in the future?
So I’m here to tell you—no, beg you—please, BE in pictures. Do it for the people you love. And remember what I said about those pictures from seventies weddings? Do it often! One day you’ll blink and the kids will be grown up, and the everyday details of those years will be fuzzy in your mind.
If you’d like to have some really beautiful family portraits, with ALL of you and even the family pets, I’d love to talk with you. Whether we meet at the park for an hour, or find a place that’s meaningful to you, where I can photograph you doing what you enjoy doing together, we’ll create those portraits that you and your family will look back on with love.