Getting in the frame
Photos are a direct link to our memories. They offer up hard pictorial evidence that we were there, we did that, we wore that. Most of us have stacks of old school hard cover albums with sticky pages and plastic film preserving our childhood. Puffed up cheeks blowing out Birthday candles, the matching red plaid dresses with the boat neck you and your sister wore when you were 8, catching your first fish, prom, weddings, new babies. These are the more classic forms of family photos. The snap shots of fleeting fragments of time that our parents and grandparents took because they wanted to remember them forever. Instinctively we know we don't want to forget. We have a need to preserve, to memorize, to file away for a rainy day. Without even knowing it, over time, we are creating our legacy.
In almost every family, there is a designated photographer. usually someone who is better with a camera or just enjoys taking pictures. They click away, at special events, holidays or just because, capturing memories and moments to sift through later, usually on a computer or in a facebook album. Today's digital photography has made things as easy as a click of a button but it has it's downsides too. Not many people actually print their photos anymore, instead choosing to keep them filed away on their desktop. (besides framing and hanging, there are some really cool ways to display your images. but I'll get to that in another post)
So where am I going with this? What is the missing piece of the family puzzle? The photographer! How often are you actually in the frame? For me, the answer is practically never. Unless I hire someone to document our days, I am the family historian. I am the one telling the stories, forever freezing time for my nearest and dearest to look back on in the future. One of my recent clients admitted that she too is the designated photographer like her Dad before her. She told me that her father passed recently and she was sad to find only a small handful of images of him scattered in albums and loose photos. She vowed to hire a photographer at least once a year so that she could be a part of her story. My own Grandfather was the man behind the lens and I'm saddened to find the same. A few quick shots here and there to remember him by but probably thousands that he had taken himself. I'm left wishing I had found photography sooner. That I'd picked up a camera earlier in life so that maybe, maybe I would have turned it toward him, to catch him doing some of his "G.P" things.
Today is his Birthday and like every year, I pull our the old albums my Grandmother gave me and flip through the old sticky pages, pouring over all of the photos he took of me. I know he was there, I know he was taking the picture. I can hear his "Kirsty!" as he tried to get my attention before pressing the shutter button. But out of all these happy pictures, I have only five of him. I am blessed with a great memory so I don't find it hard to pull up images of him in my mind. To hear his low rumbly voice telling us Anansi stories from his rocking chair, the way it creaked slightly each time he'd tip it back and forth, back and forth rocking babies to sleep as only he could. His patient fingers folding tiny pieces of paper into cranes, over and over because we begged him to show us how. The way his aftershave smelled, spicy and a little sharp yet smooth and comforting. His cheeky smile, hidden under his moustache and his never ending love and adoration for his family, his heart strings... I have no problem recalling his beautiful memory but my children don't have that gift. He passed when my oldest was only 4 months old, they never got to experience the incredible man that was my G.P. He exists in my memory, in my stories that were once his stories.
Moms, Dads, Grandparents, family photographers...
Do yourself the favour, give yourself the gift, get in the frame, exist in photos. Hand the camera to someone else and jump in! Don't wait until you lose that last 10 lbs, don't shy away because your hair isn't done or your makeup isn't on yet. Don't hide from the camera instead of playing in the sand with your kids on the beach, play with your kids on the beach! Give your family something to look back on. Your children will thank you for it one day.
**No hair and makeup was done in the making of these photos... Bowie wanted to look at albums with me so quickly set up the tripod, threw an old sweater over my tank top and got in the frame. I may not look like a top model contestant but here we are. Me and my middle girl, looking at some photo albums. Always take the picture, just do it, just get in the frame!