On my coffee table I currently have a handful of Southern Livings and an image box where I keep so many of my favorite photos. It never fails that the second I sit on my couch, I automatically pick up that box and thumb through all of the photos. Some are snapshots, some professional photos, and some are even mini polaroids. Regardless of the format, they are my favorite memories and I’ll pretty much cherish them forever.
Sometimes it feels like photo albums, the old school kind where you peel back the pages and place your 4×6 print on that sticky page, and pictures in general are lost to the instant gratification of social media postings. It’s true. We want what we want and we want it now. I’m guilty of it too as I rush to snap a photo, upload it, and share with the universe. But there are times when you want to have that picture in your hand. And sometimes you want to hang them on your walls so that when you pass by it in the morning as you head to make your coffee, you have this instant moment of deja vu and you know how it felt to hold your grandchild in your arms. You remember the tiny shoes your baby wore. And you remember exactly how perfect your life was at that exact moment.
When I photograph families, for me, it’s so much more than having them stand there just to smile pretty for a picture. Anyone can do that. I want you to feel things when you’re together. I want you to feel love for one another. To enjoy the fact that for once, you’re not worried about cooking or cleaning or homework. Instead, you are just being the beautiful, loving, and adorable family that you are meant to be. Call me crazy, but that right there is something everyone needs.
This crazy, perfect family below was all of that and more. It was extended family altogether. It was cousins who live states apart being silly and giggling with one another. It was moms and dads stepping back and just enjoying the sweet moments in front of them. It was grandparents stealing some time with their beautifully perfect granddaughters. It was time standing still. And in 20 years when these little girls are all grown up they too will search out their grandparents’ old photo albums and they will remember how they felt as they sat on those steps, giggling with each other and hugging their beautiful grandmother and grandfather.
So when I’m asked why I do what I do, I can lead them back to this. Because pictures are these amazing moments frozen in time. And for me, there is nothing more precious than having those little treasures to cherish forever and ever.