Exist in photographs. For yourself. For your children. Love never fails, and must be preserved with photography.
We have photographs on nearly every wall and surface in our home. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. There are huge canvases, small prints, big prints. Framed prints on my childhood piano and our fireplace mantle. A photo of my parents on their wedding day. Simple frames, fancy-ish frames, and sometimes no frames at all. Albums upon albums from my childhood. Instant Polaroids taped to our refrigerator. Candid moments that I’ve snapped over the years. Tiny details like hands and feet and curly locks on new babies. Moments from when my husband and I were dating in the late 90’s, to our wedding and honeymoon in 2006, to each child and adopted animal we have made a part of our home and our hearts since then. [Below: Me as a kiddo in 1986 when we lived in Germany]
Many of the photos were taken myself, of course, but there are also plenty that I have hired other photographers to take of me and my family (like the one below, shot by Alissa Saylor). Why? Because existing in photographs is important. I want to exist in photographs for my children and for myself so we have these amazing heirlooms that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.
You know what I think about often? That one day my children will look for photographs of me and their dad, and us with them. What will they have? [See more photos below: on the left is me with Maximilian snapped by my hubs, and on the right is me with Oliver a few years later, snapped by Alissa Saylor] I understand the power of thinking I’m not good enough in any one point in my life to be in photos. It’s easy to get in a cycle of not wanting your photo taken. But what happens when you’re gone?
I am good enough. Right now… today. My family loves me, they want these photos taken as much as I do, and they mean more to me than anything else in the world. I am good enough to be photographed with my kids. I want to celebrate this beautiful life I have been given. I want it to mean something and to tell our family history.
This is why I take photos constantly, and why I hire photographers I believe in to give me these photos that generations of our family will hold onto and cherish forever. Because a portrait is more than just a photograph. These photos are more meaningful than anything our family will ever own or vacation we will take or presents we will buy. These photos, these memories, are the only possible thing we could spend money on that will go up in value the way they do. It must be done right.
[Photo below of my parents on their wedding day in 1971, and to the right is me and Jose on June 3, 2006 – snapped by Bronson Pate]
My husband can count on one hand how many photos from his childhood he has. And when we were dating, I don’t recall seeing any family photos on the walls of his house. It’s heartbreaking to both of us and our own kids to have that piece of history missing. Whatever the reason was, now the photos aren’t there and there’s nothing that can be done about that. It’s a legacy lost. Missing pieces of the puzzle he’ll never get back. So we’re making sure we preserve these memories for our kids.
What’s more important today, in this moment, than photographing your family and existing in photos with them?