What do all of these items have in common?
They are all tied to a value I hold very close to my heart: family legacy.
This image (above) in particular is one of my most precious possessions, one which my mother gave me for my birthday last August. It currently sits on the desk in my office, and serves as a daily reminder of my passion not only for photography itself, but specifically for the preservation of sweet family memories. The lovely lady in this photograph is my maternal grandma, whom we always called Mamaw. I love the laughter- her laughter, which I believe is the outpouring of joy because of time with two of her grandbabies. (I am the one on the right.) I love how we are near her, competing for her attention by snuggling close. As sweet as this photo is, though, I have no memory of it. I was a toddler. I don’t remember what she was wearing, the sweet smell of the freshly baked cookies on top of the stove, or climbing into her lap. I do have this precious and priceless photo, for which I am grateful, so that I can see part of my family’s story. The only thing that would make it better would be to sit down and talk with her and hear her describe the moment. However, I can no longer sit down with her and chat, because she is in heaven. I only have the values she passed down through my family, the once soft pink roses from her funeral which are now dried, and pictures connected with stories and memories.
It is because of this photo, among several others, that I can peer into this point in time captured on film, because someone cared about preserving it. Although I don’t remember this, it does remind me of the love Mamaw had for all of her 6 grandchildren. It makes me smile. At times it makes me cry too. There is something about this image that reminds me why I started my business, and why I love capturing portraits so much. You cannot get time back, but you can revisit the memories as you look at photographs of your loved ones. Your future children, grandchildren and beyond deserve to see their family history documented in photographs because it is part of their story, too. Before you say, “But my hair is too gray,” “I need to lose weight,” or “I have too many wrinkles,” listen. Listen to the fact that your family loves you – not your appearance. They need you to be documented in photographs because you are important to them and your family. Your future grandchildren and great grandchildren will see that photo as a priceless memory which will become their connection to the past family stories and history- some of which they may remember and some which they will not. Those images will connect them to the important events in your family’s history, such as weddings and holidays, that occurred before they were born or before they were old enough to remember.
In my family, my parents were always taking pictures of every event, a habit which my mother still maintains. Papaw was also consistently documenting family events with his camera. In fact, the camera pictured at the beginning of this blog post was the one he used to photograph all of us when I was growing up. I can still recall sitting on my grandparents’ living room floor with my cousins in front of their Christmas tree, eagerly waiting to open presents, while Papaw was standing on the edge of the room taking pictures of the family as we celebrated together. Even though I don’t recall the details of each event, I now have pictures that tell the stories of the people I cherish. I have many pictures from my childhood, and I still would love to have more. You can never have too many pictures. You will only regret the photos that you did not take or invest in.