Below is an image of my parents, John and Kathy. About seven months ago, my family learned that my Mother had developed cancer that had spread to her lungs. After receiving the news, and once the initial shock wore off, I started to think about about the things that really matter most in life. I remember earlier in the day, before hearing the news, I was mulling over purchasing a new camera, I just had to have it. I was having a case of classic gear acquisition syndrome. I had myself completely convinced that if I just had this new gadget, my life would be much easier and better. When in reality I knew that the three other cameras I currently use on a daily basis, while showing their age, were good enough. After all it’s the photographer not that camera. Yes, it was a classic case of lust and materialism at it’s finest. Then the news dropped …
Suddenly, the concern over my perceived need for new gizmos, were replaced by the feeling and need to respond to this news in a constructive and positive way. Instead of dwelling on the worst that may happen or the unknown, I felt the need to celebrate my Mother. The photographer in me sprang into action. I realized, I didn’t have one single really nice professional quality image of my Mom or my Dad. All I wanted in that moment after the initial shock wore off, was an amazing image of my parents together, and quickly before much more time went by. I felt I was too close to the situation to effectively make a portrait myself, so I called up my good friend Rob Moorman, owner of Moorman Photographics to create a portrait for me.
Heres the finished image of my Mom and Dad, photographed our friends at Moorman Photographics.
As a photographer, I spend every weekend celebrating other peoples lives photographing weddings, engagements, parties, and family portraits. Most of my weekday evenings are spent photographing family portraits on Clearwater Beach for people vacationing with their families. Not many people realize this, but while it may seem fun and exciting to be a full time professional photographer, it also has it’s pitfalls which can take a toll on a person. Career photographers are always working at the same exact time everyone else is taking leisure time, spring breaks, summers, and we are especially working throughout all holidays and the periods surrounding them. Often times this means if we have a spouse, children, or close family, that we end up sacrificing a large chunk of our special time with family, to instead spend it documenting and celebrating yours.
(Heres a portrait we did for a family with a similar situation, out at a condo on Clearwater Beach)
Even though there is a big sacrifice that I make to do what I love. I also realized how lucky I am. See, professional photography to me isn’t about some misguided need to be rich and famous that too many photographers seem to have today. I’ve always strived to make excellent work accessible to everyone. Everyone deserves to be photographed. Photography to me is more like a life-long study in sociology. It’s about having the unique opportunity to interact and work with people who come from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Every time I photograph a client, I learn something new about myself. I grow. I get a broadening sense of the world and humanity. I get to learn about the people I photograph, we share stories, and I get a glimpse into their lives. That is a beautiful thing.
People should be celebrated. Family should be celebrated.
Thats the value of a portrait and the most rewarding thing about being a portraiture photographer.
That latest iPhone you have in your pocket which was probably more expensive than three of our beach sessions will be outdated and obsolete in 6 months. Most of the gadgets and “things
we surround ourselves with, which comes from some perceived need, want, or just simply keeping up with the joneses will be forgotten, replaced, or discarded before you know it. However a beautiful portrait of your family will never be obsolete, it will never be just tossed in the trash, and most importantly it will help you to never forget the things that matter most in life.
Thats the beauty of what we do.