Today I read a post by Jeanine Thurston, re-posted by so many photographers and non-photographers alike, and the letter that created the post stirred old memories that I too had to post it: http://fototails.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/a-letter-on-my-doorstep-portraits-are-more-than-paper/ After reading the letter, I cannot help but feel this person's regret of not understanding how pictures are so much more lasting than "trivial" items. Portraits and photographs are more than a piece of paper, since it helps memorialize an event or a person or a special memory of a newborn being born or children growing up with families, a wedding, and more. From time to time I do get the "oh no! there she is again!" when I take out my camera and start photographing family and friends when we're together privately or out so I can capture those memories. Many say their memories are in their mind and do not need photographs or videos of an event, but for me, personally, I love having a tangible visual of an event or memory with my husband, family and friends. Why do I do it? I do it because I know memories are fleeting. Getting older, my memory is not what it was years ago...and that is scary. How many times have we told ourselves I'll remember this moment forever...but later stumble upon a picture (maybe years or weeks later) taken by someone else and you truly forgot that moment occurred? I LOVE going through my pictures from time to time and remembering time spent with those I love. I have folders of digital images going back from 1999 with a miscellaneous folder where I added scanned images of older paper photographs.
Maybe some think that going overboard...and some may think its not...but each of us must do what feels right and capturing memories the way I know how feels the right way. I also take pictures because I know often time pictures are all we may have left of someone one day. A sad thought but true...and it was true for Karen L. who wrote the letter. Her letter has made this past hour an emotional roller coaster, leaving people wondering why I look like I've been crying...so here I am pretending to have a cold, but in reality I'm remembering the feeling of not having that picture I wanted and needed of someone who suddenly passed on. When my father passed away in 2007, I was creating a memorial board of him, and realized that the last picture I took with him and I alone was taken...well I couldn't find one. Honestly the last good one (not blurry or anything else) was from 2001 when I graduated college. There was one picture from my birthday party my dad threw for me at his house in 2005 that had me, him and my siblings together, and I had to cut out my siblings so I can frame that picture of me and my dad in my apartment. The picture was also blurry, but it was all I had standing next to him. Other pictures before he passed was of me taking the picture, or a group picture. Just remembering that realization made me panic. This was the eve of my father's wake and I'm scrambling to find pictures of my dad and me and I couldn't find a one.
Photographs of any event or a portrait of your family or pictures with friends are something that should not be taken for granted. For many they are not just a want or a need, but a priceless memory that can be passed on. If you haven't read Karen L's letter, read on: http://fototails.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/a-letter-on-my-doorstep-portraits-are-more-than-paper/
Thank you Jeanine for posting this letter. Karen L. and many more are in my prayers.