The Role That Photos Play in Telling Your Story

Lately I have been thinking about how important photos are in telling a story, & this image came to mind. It is not one of my favorites (don't even get me started on the clothes or hair!), but it does make me laugh whenever I see it. I was in high school, on the first day of my new job, & my mom insisted on taking a picture of me before I left. Now it is easy to see I was not happy about this idea (what IS that look on my face?), but despite the hideous uniform or lack of cooperation on my part, I am so thankful she took it anyway. What I had no way of knowing at this moment, all those years ago, was that on my very first day of work I would meet my future boyfriend, & he would eventually become my husband. THIS photo, taken on this day, is where our story begins.

 

Now fast forward more than a decade to this image of one of our sons. Although it is not dated, I know that it is at my parents' house, & that it must be Easter (since that is the dress I wore for our daughter's first Easter). Even though my little guy is visibly upset (which is not something most moms & dads want to see in pictures of their kids) I love this shot, because it gives me a glimpse into his life at that time. Whenever I look at it, I think about what life must be like as a 3 year old, when everyone & everything seem bigger than you. You are supposed to share & play nice with others, even when they don't do the same, & things just don't seem "fair". I wish there was another picture of us from the side, so you could see our faces as we are talking, but I am thankful that someone (probably my mom) quickly pulled out the camera & captured this moment.

When my sister-in-law & her husband visited a few months back, she brought with her a box of old photos that had been rescued from an old shed. They were there for probably 30 years, in the heat & cold of the changing seasons up north. We were excited to look at them, & were surprised that most of them had survived the elements as well as they had. One of the pictures was a candid shot of my husband's great-grandparents, just sitting together. They were looking at the camera, but neither was smiling. On the back was the date, along with their names & the phrase "last picture of the two of them together". That just kept replaying in my mind...the last photo of them together. What were they thinking? Was this a special occasion, or just a day that someone decided to take their picture? When was the last time they had their photo taken together?

As a photographer, I am most comfortable behind the camera. It is images like these that remind (& encourage) me to turn the camera over to someone else, to be sure that I am included in the photos that will tell my story. Even if I don't like what I am wearing or my hair that day, someday the image might tell a story all it's own. Remember to let someone help you get images that will one day tell your story.

 

 

 


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