Today is my dad's birthday. It seems only fitting to share my journey and my "why" today. My father is the one who sparked my interest in photography when I was just a kid. He got me my first camera, a pretty sweet 110 if anyone remembers those. It was pretty much the film version of a point-and-shoot camera. Nothing fancy by any means, though I absolutely adored playing with the flash cubes you could buy for it when my allowance allowed me enough money to purchase them.
I photographed everything that would stay still long enough for me to push the button, and some things that didn't (huge apologies to our cat while I was growing up, she put up with a lot!). My dad encouraged me the whole time, even spotting me a few dollars here and there to get my film developed, pretty sure neither of us ever told my mom about that.
When I was a little older, I talked Dad out of his Pentax K-1000 and moved in the whole new world of 35mm SLR photography. It was fantastic! I could do so much more with my images than I could with the 110 camera. I had a bit of learning curve as I explored the different settings on the fully manual camera. It was an adventure and I loved every moment of it. I am so thankful my father was kind enough to let me usurp his beloved camera and willing to let me challenge myself to learn all I could.
As much as I could through high school, I had a camera in my hands. As I entered college, not much changed. Dad let me take the K-1000 with me and I was fortunate enough to find a few lenses at a garage sale to add to my camera gear. I had a lot of fun talking shop with my dad. He had spent a lot of time in the darkroom when he was younger, high school aged and during his time at the Lexington Police Department, and was happy to tell me all about how to use filters in the darkroom to add pop to the images and more.
My sophomore year of college, I began my business, with my father as a great cheerleader on the sidelines. I loved photographing people and I tried to talk just about everyone I met into getting in front of my camera. I didn't make a whole lot for my business that year, but was thrilled to start the journey.
Looking back at the time, I don't think I really grasped why I loved doing what I was doing so much. Honestly, it wasn't until a couple years ago it really hit home with me what I love so much about photography. Yes, I adore the creative process. It feeds my soul and is wonderful. Most of all though, I love photography because it captures a moment in time; things that may seem little, as well as big moments alike. Often in the hustle and bustle of everyday life we take these moments for granted.
Two years ago, I lost my father unexpectedly. It was harder than words could ever express and it still lays heavy on my heart. But when I lost him, I realized how important photographs really are. Whether they are portraits like the one above or the one below of my proudly Scottish Southern father playing the bagpipes (while wearing a kilt no less!), or little moments in everyday life. They are priceless and so important. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for these photos, or the photos I found while sorting through his possessions after he passed. They are treasures for me. I am beyond thankful I have these images, as well as images of my girls with him. Yes, I have the memories, but these photographs are more. They are something tangible that can be passed down to generations yet to come.
Each year, we take our family portraits. Whether or not the girls are missing teeth (Gabby lost 8 this summer!), I feel like I'm "fit", or any other excuse one could think of to not take portraits. I have them and am thankful I do. My girls have grown and changed so much from year to year. Not only are they something I can look at to see how they've grown, they are something my girls can look back at and remember their childhood.
These memories go beyond portraits. The moments of joy as a couple celebrates their vows with friends and family on their wedding day. Photographs create a memory that will last forever. I absolutely value the images I create and work hard to create amazing, tangible memories for each of my clients. When the wedding day is over, the guests will depart, the flowers will wilt, the dress will be preserved in a box, the suit will go back to the rental store, and what is left? The photographs. I want the images I capture to bring back those joyful memories and help my clients remember their wedding days, families, and their love in a way that they will treasure for all time.
This is why I do photography.