There is an ever so popular quote for photography that has me thinking today.
” We take photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone”
Its a beautiful, simple and exactly right statement. When you think about life, or if you have recently lost a loved one you may know that feeling. After losing my grandfather and uncle this summer I can feel the impact of that statement to the core almost. Then you take my ever so fast growing kids (one in middle school) and the other two almost out of elementary, well.. *trying not to cry here* .. its so true.
I can just for a few seconds look at a photo of me with my grandpa when I was a little girl and almost smell the gasoline and sweat on his skin. He worked outside in the garden and on the yard all the time and thats what he smelled like. It’s a little weird how fond I am of that smell, but it connects me to a person whom I love dearly. On May 27th, I got a call that morning that my grandpa was being taken to the hospital in Mufreesoboro. They thought he had had a stroke and wanted me to be there when he arrived. My mom and I arrived in his room just seconds before they wheeled him off to get a CT scan of his brain. I will never forget, I grabbed his hand and he looked up at me and I said “I love you grandpa.” He lifted his head, looked straight into my eyes (a split moment frozen in slow motion) and I have not a clue what he said since it didn’t make much sense, but I know what he felt looking in his eyes. I wouldn’t have a clue until three minutes later that was the last time I would see him alive. He passed away on the way back down from the CT scan.
Return ticket you say, well those tickets seem pretty important now! As I look at images from my past with him I want to see so many more of the “little moments” than of the “sit here and cheese moments.” I long for more moments like this:
Right here is just a casual moment and it may not seem very important upon first glance. I know he is reaching for my hand and he was about to take me out to the barn and we were going to feed the animals. Thats a memory I cherish the most because its “real”…. This casual snapshot with a torn edge brings more feeling than the “smile at the camera” type portraits do. Don’t get me wrong the “everybody smiling/looking at the camera” images are important too because they say something with a deep meaning to me and that is “we are family,” but there is that little moment when I can feel him grab my hand and I head off to help him work that make the tears flow.
I could stare at the above image forever and feel its warmth. It’s my grandpa completely captured in one image with the white shirt he always wore! The love in the smile and laughter of his in this photo can take the breath out of me when I think I’ll never see it or hear it again.
Return tickets shouldn’t only be sit here and smile for the camera. I know we all want that one image that says “hey look we’re not a crazy family after all,” but you know the truth? We are all crazy families with kids running here and there and one of us making that funny face in the photo and no ones kids sit still all the time. It is probably the reason I edit too many images. I like to give my clients the crazy ones, the goofy ones, but also the smiling ones because you never know which return ticket you are going to need on a rainy day. One day your newborn will be 13 years old and that teenager is gonna back talk you. You are going to want to send them off to boarding school BUT before you do, just go take a look at that newborn image you cherish so much.
The value of a moment is not in the present its always in the future.
Rest in peace grandpa and Uncle Mikey. I love you so much and miss you!! ~chrissy
Every day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present :). Haha, I know I just went cheesy on you and all but it is cute. Don’t forget to cherish the little things and capture the stupid crazy moments at home with your kids and loved ones. I promise you won’t ever regret taking a photo, you only regret missing the ones left only in your memory.
Holiday challenge: Take your camera to your Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. Don’t take ONLY the stand here and cheese images, but try to capture your family being a family! Once your kids grow up I promise you won’t think a photo of them hanging ornaments on the tree was stupid, or two cousins playing legos on the floor was silly, think of it as your return ticket and get as many as you can :).
~much love christina