I realized yesterday during a conversation with two of my grandkids just why I am so passionate about my photography.
Mikey asked me what my mom was like. I had to think for a moment. She died 18 years ago, and as much as I remember about her, many of those memories have faded with time. "Well, let me think...she was a tiny woman with beautiful skin and a head of beautiful thick hair. She had deep-set eyes and she looked much younger than her age. Her gaze was always a tiny bit off because she was legally blind." "What is legally blind?" asked my curious 7 year old. I picked up the empty paper towel tube that he had been playing with and held it up to his eye. "Look at my face and tell me what you can see." He looked for a minute and said, "all I can see is your eye and part of your nose." "That's what your grandma could see when she looked at something. It was called tunnel vision. Retinitis Pigmentosa is what the doctors diagnosed her with when I was only 4 years old. I kept thinking during our conversation that if I only had a photograph of her I could show them what she looked like. All I had were snapshots that are packed away in a box in the attic. How sad that I never thought to have a nice photograph done of her while she was alive. Why didn't I do that?
I told him about the times when his mommy and my other kids were little and she would take their faces in her hands and feel all of their little features. It was the only glimpse she had of what they looked like (Try telling that story to your grandkids without crying!). They listened intently while I talked.
About a month ago, my niece was visiting from California and she and my sister decided to drive up to see me. I told them to bring a few outfits because I wanted to do a photo session with the two of them. I did some images of my niece Petra, then some of my sister Barbara. But the magic happened when I put the two of them together. I just kept thinking of the memories I was creating for them, and wishing that she could have had her other daughters there to be a part of it all. That will happen someday!
After our session, I had to put editing their images on the back burner because I had clients that were waiting on their images. That weekend I attended a photography seminar and Bruce Berg, our instructor taught an entire day on the importance of capturing beautiful memories of family members. He was showing us a series of images that he did with a very large family. They were stunning. And then he told us that not long after this family had these images done, one of the men in the family was driving home one night and fell asleep at the wheel of his car. He was killed instantly. Within a year, the grandfather died of a heart attack. And he asked us, "Do you think that family is glad they had these images made?" We all knew the answer.