There’s a scene in the movie “Beaches” that always makes me cry. Barbara Hershey is at her beach house and her health is deteriorating quickly. She is in her bedroom frantically looking through photos of her family. When Bette Midler walks in the room, she says, “I can’t remember my mother’s hands. Help me find a photo of her hands!” I know it all to well.
It’s been 14 years since I last saw my mother’s hands.
I have no photos of my mother’s hands. I wear a ring that she wore everyday. I can still remember taking it off her hand in the hospital and slipping it on mine. I often stare at my hand, with the ring on it, hoping it will spark an image of her hand.
All photographers want to capture special moments with your family. Help to create memories that will last forever. Ok, well, I want to do the same thing. So, what differentiates me?
Well, I can’t speak for other photographers. But, for me, it’s the story I just mentioned. See, I have lost both of my parents, my aunt and my grandmother. You should know that’s most of my childhood family. I only have my brother and my aunt left. That’s it. My childhood home was sold 12 years ago. A lot of my life, and the people I loved, exist now only in my head. I use that to fuel me. It helps guide me to take the photos that are important. (I know this sounds extremely depressing. It is... but it's not. Please keep reading.)
I know what will be important later. What you will miss and what slowly fades from memory. The types of images that will spark the here and now. More importantly, the feelings that come along with them. Whether it be the hat that your little girl never goes anywhere without, how your daughter and her grandfather always would smell flowers together or simply the way your son bites his tongue, to help him concentrate, when he is drawing. All of these types of moments add up to a documentation of your family's life. These types of photos tell your family’s real story.
So, even though I’m a photographer, ultimately I consider myself to be a storyteller.
It’s very personal for me. Being that my father had been a photographer, he DID document my life story. I am SO happy I have photos to trigger memories and things that I would've forgotten. They're not all posed photos - some are - but some aren't. I don’t want you being in a position one day longing for these photos. I want you to have them. These are the memories you will look back upon years down the road and value. When I take photos, I think of you, but I also think of your family’s future generations. Your grandchildren, your great grandchildren. I want to preserve your life. I want those family members to know you and your kids at this very moment.
It’s important to be able to look back and say, “Yes. I remember when.”
And in case you’re wondering, I ALWAYS get a picture of mom’s hands.