Updated: Jan 28, 2020
My husband has asked me a couple of times in the past few weeks: Why family photography? Like he’s trying to nail down where exactly this obsession of mine came from. Neither of us expected it when he gave me money for a camera one Christmas. We had two point-and-shoot cameras that were equally disappointing and two kids growing faster every year and moving quicker by the minute. I needed to stop them, to stop time, to capture them: tiny toes and hands, little shoes lined up at the door—the small things. But I wasn’t even capturing the big things well. First birthdays were being documented with fuzzy cell phone shots.
Once I started reading about photography I couldn’t stop. For one solid year, I read almost nothing but photography books from the library (those were our low-tech days: no internet at our apartment, a phone that only made phone calls, remember those?). And I started photographing everyone I could: family, neighbors, friends, strangers in the park (literally). I took a few courses and took more photos. We got internet at the house (finally), and I took more courses and a lot more photos.
The obsession thrives, and I suspect it’s biological, like some chemical is released in my brain when I am with a family capturing their beauty and their love for each other. A photographer is part director, part artist and part collaborator because we’re all in this together (believe me, I have been on the other side of the camera and know the awful pressure of coordinating outfits and shoes and making sure everyone is fed and happy and on time and btw, you just had a baby not-that-long-ago and sort of hate your shape). I love honoring all that effort by creating a space for everyone to relax and enjoy each other’s company and capturing a tiny moment in this on-going beautiful drama that is FAMILY.
Maybe this obsession of mine will pass, but I don’t think so. Maybe it’s contagious and you’ll start looking at your own photos in a new light…
Anyone have a similar experience—ever stumbled into your passion unexpectedly, or caught someone else’s fire? I’d love to hear about it! Share your thoughts below.