Photographing families is an honor I cherish. When someone welcomes me into their home, into their lives and allows me to capture who they are, and the love that just drips from their hearts, how could I not feel humility? It is a humbling and somewhat noble experience and there are times when the responsibiilty of it awes me. That may seem like somewhat of an exaggeration to you, but to me it is without question one of the most meaningful things I will ever do.
I have spent the last ten years as a journalist. I have photographed former president Bill Clinton. I have interviewed celebrities like Drew Carey and Sean Astin from “Lord of the Rings.” I have covered rock star concerts and political condundrums. I have also interviewed lying scoundrels and shady dealers who try to fool the world. I cannot the number of political figures who have glared at me when I approach them for a soundbite on the latest scandal! People either love or hate journalists. We are a breed that is needed and discarded at the same time.
We write the first draft of history.
But what about a portrait photographer? We work in silence. Our art is just that, art. One image speaks a million words. It sits privately on a wall and is enjoyed only by those who are welcomed into the space. And that’s the point. It is enjoyed. It is private. It is loved for generations. It speaks to good. It speaks to undying committment; sometimes loudly declared, sometimes silently assumed, always there….wanted and needed.
Today I discovered and article on a peer’s blog by famed photo-journalist and now wedding photographer Matt Mendelsohn( He spent decades as a newspaper and United Press journalist covering wars, both of words and of weaponry). It was just published in the Washington Post. Even though he touches mostly on wedding photography, he speaks volumes as to how I connect with portrait photography…and how the world connects with itself. Writing as a journalist, his words strike a cord very deep within me. He, however, can do it much more eloquently than I ever could. If you have a moment, read it. It may move you as well.
Long ago, I realized that the one true thing in life that we will always have is our family. Whether that family is blood relative or someone who “became” family through kindred spirit, family will always be there for you. They will always love you. You will ALWAYS want to remember them because forgetting your family is to forget yourself.
Happy Birthday to my beautful sister, Jenny. I love you.
Until Next Time,