Ever wonder what I am most inspired by? Well, here’s your answer. It’s nothing crazy. It’s the 30 year old photo boxes in a closet in my parent’s house. They’re filled with treasure. I swear I could spend hours pouring over my grandparent’s and parent’s photos. There’s something so special about the images taken before everyone carried a camera around in their pocket. Imperfect lighting and composition. No instant viewing. No re-dos. Just real. Photos like this.
I was reading my new favorite magazine, the Magnolia Journal, a few weeks back and came across an article called “the purpose of a photo.” The contents of the article sum up why I love photography and why I think it’s a remarkable gift to humans in a way I could never quite find the right words for.
“Experiencing images in a tangible way helps us to time travel, to hold history in our hands and look it straight in the eye in a way that scrolling through photos on our phones likely never will. These relics are proof of people and places as they once were, the past speaking to the present through shadows and light, helping us to remember, reminding us to reflect.”
There is power in the way photography (even for the everyday person) used to be. The old way inspires the way I shoot weddings as a professional photographer, but it also inspires the way I’ve started to document my own life. As much as I want to deliver images to my clients that are powerful- that literally make them feel like their past is speaking to the present- I want to use my camera (whether it be my big fancy one or the one on my phone) to do that very thing in my own life as well.
So, here’s my point. If you’re lucky enough to have a camera on your phone that you carry with you at all times, you really have a gift. The article I referenced earlier says “A photo with personal meaning…glows brightly – memories captured like fireflies in jars.” You have a built in way to capture your life – your real, simple, sweet, big, adventurous, ordinary life! Real moments that are average, unplanned, imperfect, poorly lit with not so pretty backgrounds. The beautiful ones. They’re the ones that will help tell the story of your life.
And here’s my plea. Start to look for this kind of lasting beauty in your moments. Stop staging the perfect shot and then taking 10 until you’re happy with it. Every once and a while, look around and see how you can capture your people without having them stand in a line and smile. See the beauty with your eyes and snap it with your camera and then bring it into your physical world. THAT will be an artifact worth passing on. Your visual legacy is counting on you to get your moments off your phone and computer. They won’t ever be seen there. They don’t have an ounce of the power they would have if you could actually hold them in your hands. Let them do their thing. You might be surprised by their reach- how they create deeper connection, cause smiles, make you remember, increase gratitude, invoke questions, give you a platform to tell a fuller story.
So let’s start taking photos worthy of the photo boxes. These are the days, people!
Here are some of my own favorites snags- new & old. Most were just taken on my phone, so I hope they inspire you to pull out yours for just a few seconds every now and then and document the simple grand life you are no doubt living.