I received my first camera from my grandmother when I was still in elementary school. Grandma spent her days scavenging through thrift stores for the perfect finds and it just so happens that my first camera was the result of one of those adventures. It was a dusty old Kodak that used 110 film and I drove my parents crazy asking for film and developing. That little camera began my love for photography.
When my second child was born I received my first DSLR- and realized how much I loved capturing memories but I still didn’t understand how truly precious those images could be.
A couple of years ago a good friend’s sister was getting married and I agreed to take some photos for them. I was warned ahead of time that like most adults the bride’s father really hated having his picture taken. I can certainly sympathize as I’m far more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I spent the day quietly looking for the right moment to get a quick shot, and the father of the bride spent the day carefully avoiding my camera. It was a game of cat and mouse that I was determined to win. Finally when he wasn’t looking I stepped into place and as he turned I was able to fire off one perfect shot, he wasn’t particularly amused.
A few short weeks later my friend called early in the morning to let me know that her dad had passed away in his sleep the previous night. Through her tears she asked if I had any pictures of her father. That’s when I realized how important photography really is. That’s why I do this, because the images in our mind’s eye fade far too quickly. The details get hazy; before we know it it’s harder to bring an image of grandpa to mind, or to remember how small and tiny that newborn baby was. There is something incredibly special about capturing a moment for a family to hold onto, creating an image that quite simply gives them the chance to remember.
Thank-you to that family and to the man who taught me such a valuable lesson, you may have hated having your picture taken but you’re why I’m a photographer.