Lately I've been thinking about, well a lot of things really, but a common theme for me has been the subject of paper prints versus digital media and how this all plays a role with our children. Since we are very firmly in the digital age, we are taking countless pictures on cell phones and digital cameras and viewing them on some sort of device or monitor. The days of framing a portrait of our loved ones to hang on the wall is being replaced by merely posting the picture online and waiting for the "likes" to pile up. Now I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with going digital, it just seems like many of us do not value the physical photographic print as we once did. When it comes to our children, let's face it, we take THOUSANDS of pictures of them with our phones and make album after album on Facebook....but that's it. The few prints we do have of them usually come from the school photographer where, and this may sound bad, every one of them look the same. Technically they are well done photographs, lit from the same angle and with just about the same pose for every child. These are pictures of our children, but not how we are used to seeing them. There's no feeling behind them, just a pose and a smile. Maybe this is one of the reasons we don't value the prints as much anymore, they all look similar. We've seen them a million times in every home we enter, and everyone of them is a fake smile looking back at the camera. But when we snap a shot with our cell phone it's different, it's spontaneous, a moment, a genuine emotion....it's our children the way we know them.
The lead off picture above is of my daughter Lia releasing one of the butterflies she raised this spring. It was the last butterfly to leave, and before it went it sat on Lia's arm for a few moments to say goodbye. It's not the typical portrait, she's not camera aware (looking at the lens) and it's definitely not taken with a cell phone. While I have taken some posed pictures of her, the ones I take like this mean so much more to me. When I view this print on my wall it brings me back to, not only this moment but the weeks we spent ordering her butterflies online, them hatching, and Lia waking up and saying "good morning" to her little friends everyday. If this print isn't hanging on my wall for me to see everyday, and instead exists only as a combination of 1's and 0's in my computer, it effectively remains just a memory.
The same goes for this picture of my other daughter Lucie. It's not the typical sit the baby in front of a wrinkled muslin background and shake a toy next to the camera to make her look photo. Lucie is genuinely having the most fun she could possibly have playing with that window blind. Every time I view this photo I can hear her adorable little laugh, and relive the joy I felt watching her explore this wide world she is so new to.
This picture of Lia when she was a baby is a little more moody, it's classic in black and white and conveys a feeling to the viewer. Yes it's the back of my daughters head, but more importantly it's the first time she experienced natures fury. Again, this speaks to bringing back memories and emotions through photography. I can remember exactly how Lia acted when the wind and rain picked up, and how cool it was to watch her experience her first big storm. I won't get that from a picture place in the mall.
Dean's parents will never forget the first time they handed him a tulip to investigate. The look on his face was priceless. I remember when I shot this, how cool it was that the sun lit this flower up like a light. As Dean pulled the tulip in for closer inspection, the light reflected onto his face and gave him that awesome glow.
Trevor's parents really love this shot of him on the driveway playing basketball; it's something that he does everyday. When he grows up and leaves for college, his mom is going to look back at this photo and relive her son's playtime for a moment or two. It's a moment in time when her son didn't have a care in the world and the only thing he wanted to do was get that ball in the hoop.
How about this for a cool family portrait? Kevin and Jonni-Ann share a love for rock and roll and their long boards. What better way for dad to remember his little girl than a shot of them enjoying a beautiful day doing something they love. Sure it's posed; it's them sitting down for a couple of shots but then getting right back to having fun on the boards.
When you think about going to the "affordable" portrait studio in the mall or when you settle for the pictures that the school provides, take an extra minute and really look at the photos. If what you want to see is your children looking back at you, well behaved and posed, then by all means enjoy it. But if you want to remember them the way they really are, the good, the bad, and the adorable look for someone like me, someone who has a genuine passion for the craft of photography and a willingness to really work for the pictures that you will cherish the rest of your life. There are a lot of us out there, we are generally not cheap and that is for a reason. We take this craft seriously, personally even, and we invest countless hours and dollars to make sure we have the knowledge and equipment to guide you through the process of capturing images that you will look back on throughout your life with fondness and emotion.
Click on this link if you'd like to see more of my portrait work: http://exposurellc.zenfolio.com/p663164173