I’m going to get a little personal in this post. I don’t know if it’s just me – somethings I think it must be – but my memory is terrible. I have snippets of memory from my childhood – vignettes and moments – but to be honest, I often feel like my memories are pretty sparse.
And I don’t think it’s just having children that sent my memory and mind into the crapper – I am pretty sure it’s always been that way. I remember after college chatting often with my roommate, who had gone to high school with me. She would talk about friends and things that had happened just a few years prior (in high school) and I almost always had the same response – I don’t remember that at all! She would shake her head at me and we would joke that high school was just a traumatic/terrible time for most of us, and I must have blocked the memories.
Fast forward to 2017 -as I’m approaching 40 and even those college years and post-college years are so dim! I love looking back at pictures – because yes, even when I was in college we still hadn’t gone digital. No smart phones – so all of my memories are captured in 4×6 print – in little albums and scrap books, that are absolutely treasured by me now.
Having a baby is definitely a memorable event. No way to forget that experience (at least, not yet…) I KNOW that there were moments that were hard and beautiful – and I remember having this thought: there is no way I will ever forget this moment. But I have. I am already seeing the memories become hazy and dim. I don’t really remember how tiny their little hands were compared to mine – or what their first words were (but don’t worry – I did write most of that down!)
What I do remember – are the moments that I photographed. Because there is something about cementing that visual image into my brain that allows me to keep the rest. I can almost remember that new baby smell, or how soft their skin was. When I look at these images what I see is the preservation of my mind.
It’s kind of like the images are my Rosetta Stone – to unlock the rest of the memory in my brain. When I look at the images of my husband holding our little girl I am immediately transported back to that hospital room. I remember the sunlight – I remember the time of day – the people who were there. But without this little key, unlocking all of that becomes a herculean task for my poor brain.
I think this must be why I have been so drawn to lifestyle photography for most of my life. My favorite quote by Dorothea Lange is “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
Photography is so much more to me than a passion and an art form. It is my lifeline. I see in myself the ability to loose memories. To loose the ‘where I came from’ – and I desperately want to hold onto the beauty of this life. Even in it’s messiest of days – to look back, laugh and love. At the memories of my daughters covered in finger paint, the way my girls love and hate each each other, at the way they let me snuggle them when they are little (because God knows that doesn’t last forever!)
So this is my little ‘why I do what I do’ back story. I am in love with the photographic story of life because without it I would be lost. It’s so important to live in the present moment – but we also need to be able to look back at the journey. To appreciate all of the struggles, the highs and lows, and everything in between, along the way.