Redondo Beach Portrait Photographer | The Value of the Printed Image

pictures - web

I have a storage bin of old family albums and pictures. Sound familiar? That's not including the miscellaneous albums from my teens, young adult life and right up into my early years of marriage.

And then the digital age hit. Now I have external hard drives with tons of personal pictures living on them. They may not get dusty but no one can enjoy them if I don't take the time to post them on social media or through blogging (which doesn't always happen).

The value of those hundreds of images in that storage bin are truly priceless to me because for the most part, they are the tangible memories of the people no longer physically here with me in my life. I pull out pictures from my past on a regular basis. I've put them in frames on my walls, scanned them, posted them on Facebook and in blogs.

In the face of a disaster, I would go for that bin.

So why am I telling you this? I realize that I am not alone in my dislike for being in front of the camera. As a photographer, I have conversations regularly with moms  about how they view themselves in pictures; they feel they look fat, they hate their arms, their nose, their sagging eyelids, their crooked teeth, the list goes on and on. I hate pictures of myself for the so many of those reasons, too.

But my son doesn't.

Let me repeat that again, my son doesn’t hate how I look in pictures.

When I was putting together my wedding and wanting to honor my mother and grandmother, who had each passed away in the years and months before the ceremony, I realized that I had very few pictures of the two of them together and even fewer of the three of us and I only had one portrait of me and my mom together.


circa 1979And it was one of those horrible 1980's studio portraits taken during my "awkward" years when the Farrah Fawcett flip was all the rage.          



But I will NEVER get rid of it.


Then I had an epiphany one day recently. I haven't had a decent family portrait done since before my son was born! And I'm a photographer! Plus, the last {non-snapshot} picture of him and I together was over four years ago when he was still technically a toddler. He's in second grade now.


Guess what? My son doesn't care what I look like in pictures, he just wants pictures of us together because simply loves me.

In truth, the pictures we take with our children and families right now really are not for ourselves, they are for our children, their children and their children's children.

I'm not going to wait until I lose more weight or have a the perfect haircut before I get into pictures with my child, I'm going to take advantage of every time I can be in front of the camera with him and then I'm going to make sure they are printed in some format, because some day I'll be gone and I want him to have those images, see the happy moments we captured together, smile with joyful memories.

{This is our “group hug” we took this shortly after I wrote this post – a special family moment I didn't want to miss documenting.}

I'm starting to move digital images from the past four years into printed photo books. I have enough images to make an album per year. It's probably going to take some time as I work on it in my free time, but well worth it.

I believe making pictures has always been about printing, displaying and cherishing tangible art as well as capturing our lives to remember.

Posting images on social media is a bonus in today's age - but should not become the end all. Images are meant to be shared, on walls, in albums, through cards... What ever it is, make the pictures you have taken and stored on hard drives, CD's or flash drives concrete beyond the confines of the monitor, cell or tablet.

Our pictures tell our story.

Share your story, give your future generations something palpable, something they can hold, touch, consider and imagine what you were like during this time in your lives.

So forget about the extra 20 pounds or thinning hairline, get into the pictures with your children and then display those pictures on walls, tabletop frames or coffee table books. Just do it.

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{A family “self portrait” set up and taken by Harrison with the self timer – do I love how I look? Heck no! does the Boy love this picture? Oh yes! }


You will never regret it and neither will your children.


Megan Cotugno said...

I love the sentiments in this post. I assume you've seen this essay from last fall with sme similar thoughts?

Rose said...

Megan, thank you! No, I hadn't read that article, it was very good... and so true!

This post was based on my own personal experience as well as conversations I've had with other moms - especially while photographing their children.

The realization that I had avoided the camera, myself, in the last three years and that Harrison, in all his purity, thinks I'm pretty, that I have a soft belly {yes} and loves to be in pictures with me.

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