When I visit my grandmother in Northern NB a couple of times a year, one thing I undoubtedly always make a point of doing is pulling out one, or more, of her dozens of photo albums, and flipping through the pages. Some of the oldest albums contain photos of people that I didn't have the good fortune to meet. They were born and died before I was even an embryo. My dear grandmother is a true storyteller at heart, and reviewing those albums has always prompted some wonderful tales about the people in the images. Many of those stories would not have crossed her mind without the aid of the photos that captured those moments. Do you recall a similar experience, and the emotion connected with it?
Photos are your legacy. When you are gone, and future generations learn about you, how do you want to be visually remembered?
We pretty much all have a camera in our pockets nowadays, and many of us take snapshots regularly. I absolutely encourage you to do that. It's important to have those day-to-day memories of your pets, your children, your spouse, your household, the activities you enjoy, and endless selfies. However, if you are anything like me, those photos get loaded to insert random social media site here, they get a few dozen likes, are quickly forgotten about, and may never see the light of day again.
I saw a great meme recently on Facebook and it really struck a chord. Just picture this with me if you would.
On the left was a classical black and white portrait of a teenaged girl, probably taken with a pinhole film camera in the early 20th Century. It said above it: 2016 - "Honey, I found a picture of your grandmother"
On the right was a picture of a teenaged girl, posing in front of the mirror, wearing an uber short pair of denim shorts and a low cut top, sticking her booty out, holding up a cell phone for a selfie. It said above it: 2091 - "Honey, I found a picture of your grandmother"
It's a fairly exaggerated, yet humorous reminder (like all memes) that if we don't have flattering, sophisticated professional photos taken of ourselves and our families once in a while, all that our future generations will have are the random selfies we've taken; and that is only if the formats and technology still exist to display and view those digital photos in 75+ years from now. Do we really want that to solely represent who we were to our grandchildren?
Be honest, how many of those cell phone snapshots are hanging on your walls, printed and framed to display on the mantle, or included in a photo album? I'm willing to bet it's very few, if any. The quality of cell phone pictures continues to improve drastically, but they simply do not measure up to the quality that is achieved by a professional photographer. Good professional photos are properly lit, exposed, re-touched, optimized for print, sharpened, and produced by a professional print lab in archival quality.
Have you ever thought about how will you pass down these cell phone pictures that are saved on some device--that will be outdated in 2 years--or stored in "the cloud?" And when you are old and grey, which photos of yourself and your family would you most like to leave behind? I doubt it's the drunken selfie from college, or the quick snapshot of your kids eating dinner.
A professional family photo session may seem like a bit of a chore when added to your long to-do list, however, in my experience rarely does someone ever look back and say to themselves "I wish I hadn't taken the time to have all these beautiful photos of my family made!" And future generations will surely thank you.
Let's re-write the meme, and be proud of the photos your family will dig up of their ancestors. Will they be printed big and beautiful for the world to see? You decide.