This is not a promotional plea…
It’s an emotional one.
For the past 2 or so years, I’ve been planning to take
photos of my great Aunt. Every time I would visit her I would say, Auntie, you
ready to take some pictures…
And she would respond the same way each time. "Not until my
hair is done".
That was every time.
Last month she passed away. And all I can keep thinking
about is those photos that I didn’t take. The memories that I didn’t create.
Now my chance in gone.
My mom is the same way. She often hides from cameras. If her
makeup isn’t on, or her hair done, she will refuse to take a photo.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 4 years now. Sure we
have a handful of snapshots together, but for the past two years I’ve been begging
him to do a photo session with me, and he mostly refuses.
You know how when you are at someone's home and they show you
an old photo of yourself…and realize you had forgotten all about that moment in
time. The photo is a marker that refreshes your memory in a way that had you not
seen the photo, you would not even have believed you were present.
Our minds, particularly our memories are finite. They don’t
last forever. Over time they begin to fade. I can’t even remember what I ate
for breakfast last week. Maybe you would argue because its not that important,
but in time, even the important things lose their hold in our minds.
You ever been angry for someone for so long you forgot what
it was initially about? Sure it must have been important (at least to you) for
you to decide to hold that grudge, but the mind doesn’t always work on our
You ever hear a song and remember exactly what you were doing, or eating, or
where you were and who you were with when that song first came out? That song
is like a marker in our memory. A placeholder, allowing you to find that page
when prompted. Smells can have the same effect. So can photos.
So when my boyfriend talks his way around a photo shoot
again, inside it almost feels like it’s me he is rejecting. In my mind he is
saying he doesn’t want to create memories with me. Because in actuality, it isn’t
about him. Its bigger than that. Its about the moment in time that I want to
never forget. In my mind, rejecting that request is like rejecting me. God forbid something happened to either of us, I want to
have something tangible to help me hang onto the memories.
So after my Auntie's funeral, I went around to all my aunts and uncles with just my iphone and took a photo with each and every one of them (it's 8 on my fathers side). Why? Because I realized I don't really have any with them. I have years of memories of Christmases and holidays gone by... that are fading away. But few pictures. So I got some. Because to me that is what
photography is about...
Sure its art. Sure its about capturing beauty, but really,
its deeper. Its creating a memory. Or at least helping to sustain one.
So what you are 15lbs heavier than your ideal weight. Do you
think your kids will care about that when you are gone? No, because what you
fail to remember is that is what is in front of them every time they see you. As undesirable
as it may be, it is a part of you. Having a picture with you will outweigh all
of the split ends in the world. It’ll outweigh any back rolls, or love handles.
The picture is not about what you see. Its about holding on to a piece of space
We’d be smart to never forget that. And to put aside our
inhibitions. Get in front of the camera. Stop letting whatever it is in your
mind hold you back. Your family will thank you for it later.
That why I love what it is I do, and I take it seriously. It
may not mean much to you in this moment. But one day, to someone in your life,
PS. So to be clear, I am not saying book a session with me and do it now! If you want to, that would be great. What I am saying is take out your point and shoot, and get some photos of yourself, of that person that never wants to be photographed. Of your family. It is important.