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Exist In Photos
I want to talk about something that has been showing up a lot lately, #ExistInPhotographs, something that a growing popular photographer named Sue Bryce talks about often. Why am I talking about this you may be wondering? Because this week I lost my grandfather, a man who I lived with almost my whole life, and who was like a father to me.
The first thing I decided to do when I heard the news, after crying a while, was to pull up photos to share with everyone. In one day I learned that digitals are both a blessing and a curse. I love digitals because in 2 days I was able to go back through all of my folders to 2005 and pull out images of him, something that took several days when my grandmother had died because we had to go through piles of printed photos from multiple people to make the photo board. I was able to in just a couple of hours pull out everything I needed and send a quick order to target for quick prints to glue onto the board. (As a side note, I suggest either doing quick prints or making copies of your prints for a display board as many photos were ruined trying to get them back off the board after my grandmother's funeral)
Well if it was so easy to pull up images, why is it a curse? Because I had to go find my old hard drive to go back before 2012, then we had to find the cords for it. Not a big deal, but it took a couple of minutes to get it together. Then once I started going through the photos I found a folder that had been corrupted from one of our vacations to Maine. On a positive note, I had a different folder for each day, so only lost one that said traveling to somewhere for a day trip, so it might have just been a handful of shots while driving around, but I'm not going to lie, it scared me. I was so scared that I would find more folders I couldn't open, and this hard drive is the only place I have most of these images apart from a couple that may have gotten printed here or there, but that someone else would have, not me. It made me realize that I really need these images backed up somewhere else, and I also really want to print them in albums. I also discovered while I was going through them that the image quality back before 2012 wasn't so great. When I would try to brighten up some darker images, the blacks became very grainy, so I could only adjust them a tiny bit.
I am writing this because I want you to take a moment to think back, where are your photos? Are they all printed? Are they all on a hard drive or disc somewhere? If they are digital, when is the last time you opened them to make sure they still work? I found a couple of video clips in my old files, they would no longer open, but I did get the sound to play on the one. I wanted to hear my grandmother's voice, but it was jumbled up amongst a room full of sounds and voices from the last time we were at Bugaboo Creek together for dinner.
I also wanted to mention when I decided to write this that you should exist in photographs like Sue Bryce mentions. What does that mean? When is the last time you had a real photo taken, not with a phone camera? As I went through my thousands of images, the recent ones I had of my grandfather in the past year were taken with my phone camera, and you want to know something? I was pissed at myself for not taking an extra 2 minutes to take out the real camera so they were clear and not blurry, dark, crappy images. I do have one of him and my son together taken with a real camera (bottom of the page, taken for an ad I made which is below that), but I had intended to take a photo of my grandfather and his first great grandchild together in my studio, or just nicely done, and I never got the chance because "I was too busy". We moved and life was chaos, there was always some excuse. What would it have taken for me to stop for just an hour or so to walk my grandfather and my son down to my already setup studio and take a couple of portraits? Why do we make time for everything else, but not the important things like capturing these precious memories that only last a short while? My son is already almost 10 months old, growing right before my very eyes. I told myself in the beginning that I WOULD take a professional portrait of him every month and fill in a 12 month collage template I have, and I have done it so far, but I am kicking myself for not getting real photos of him with my grandfather.
I think I have learned a valuable lesson, that I should make the time to capture these memories. Put away the phone, and pull the camera back out. I think my new goal for this year is to actually set a date for the grandparents and great grandparents to come into my studio and have portraits of them with Kaeden, and even each other.
If you are reading this, when is the last time you had a portrait taken of yourself? Of your family together? It's probably time.
This is the last photo I have of my grandfather, not taken with a phone camera, which I took to make this image below.
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