Calgary Family photographer
Photos as Heirlooms
Family photographs capture and freeze a moment in time, allowing people from generations afterwards to catch a glimpse into their ancestor/loved one’s life in that moment, provide insight into the times and conditions they lived in, and perhaps a little window into their personalities too. If you’re anything like me, when an antique photo of relatives long gone falls into my hand, I eagerly study it- looking for traces of genetic traits (I have Nana’s smile!), the clothes they wore at that time (Wow, she had gorgeous legs!) and anything else I can possibly glean from studying the faces of my relatives long passed.
(My father and brother hanging on the couch)
As a Calgary family photographer one of the things I hear all the time from many of the lovely families who book photo sessions is their wry exclamations: “We just don’t do this enough!” and “Why did we wait so long to update the kids’ pics?!” Granted, gathering a group of people all spread out in the city into once place, and attempting to get everyone to wear the same colour shirt ( to give the photos a look of cohesive coordination) can be an effort unto itself. But having a recent, updated family photo as well as individual portraits is so important, and photos are always among the first things we turn to and seek out when we plan celebratory parties, retirements, weddings, and even funerals. That one beautiful photo, tangible and preserved, to best illustrate the loving personalities, great smiles and magnetic personalities when we gather to celebrating their lives, or welcoming new ones into the family. That one candid shot of our relative doing what they love- hiking, fishing, being the life of the party, to remind us all of what we love (and loved) most about them. To me, having an array of such photos are completely invaluable and worth every dime one might have paid to have them taken!
(My mother and I having a cuddle)
After my beloved grandmother passed away, over time a few antique and very old photographs of her as a young woman made their way into my hands. I felt wonderful insight into her spirit and a renewed connection to my Nana just seeing her beautiful smile coyly smiling at the photographer who took her photo posed on a step. I studied her beautiful face, her long and elegant legs posed ladylike, and felt like I was given some new insight into what made her into the woman I knew so many years later as my grandmother. I studied pictures of her gazing at my grandfather with love, and found it fascinating to be able to “see” her all these years before I or even my own mother had come along. All from a few slightly curled and weather-beaten old photographs which are now among some of my most treasured possessions. I lost my dear father in 2013 and not a day goes by when I don’t look at some photo of him I have on my phone, and pore over old photos of things we did together. Each time I look at a photo I’ve seen hundreds of times, it brings my father’s voice, his very gregarious personality and what he meant to me as a father back in a rush of memories and feelings. It motivates me now to take more photos of my living relatives-and give them as gifts to others. Photos mean everything when someone is no longer with us.
(No shortage of photos in my family, believe me! Me with my dolls around age 4)
How valuable does a treasured family photo become when someone moves away? Gets married? Or sadly, passes away? In a tragedy or sudden loss of a close family member, a sense of true wistful regret can set in- why did we not snap shots at XXX’s birthday last year, or why didn’t I take mom’s portrait before she lost her hair to cancer, etc.
(My dad holding me and standing with my brother).
If I may be so emboldened, I encourage you to find a photographer who’s personal style and ability to evoke the true personality from their subjects really speaks to you, and arrange an updated family photo session SOON! Arrange a beautiful portrait done of your mother. Gather the grandkids for a family shot at your favourite scenic park or viewpoint in the city during the splendor of fall colours. Hire a photographer to grab some professional candids at your next family gathering, reunion, or event. Don’t wait to create beautiful photographic heirlooms for your family and the generations to come. And most importantly – make multiple prints!! Life is short, make it count, and document the good times!
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