Family documentary photography is actually a thing! I’m not just making this shit up. People all over the world are doing it. Most families don't look for documentary photographers for one reason, they don't know it's a thing. I seem to be the first in Tasmania, which is exciting but at the same time a little harder for people to understand and fall in love with the raw beauty. But I feel so strongly about documentary photography that once it catches on people will be spreading the word like wild fire.
What most people are doing when they get their photos done are creating an unrealistic portrait. With matching colour coordinate outfits, beautiful sunset backdrops. Posed just so. Mum is pulling her hair out in frustration because little Johnny isn't doing what he should be.
Really is this how you want to remember your children, or does this have any meaning for your children to look back on in 20 years time?
My life happens in terrible light, tantrums around the dinner table, no bra on, my children looking like they belong to no one. I’m sure it’s the same for you. I want to remember the sweet every day moments that make up my everyday life…baking with the kids with flour flying everywhere, learning how to crack an egg, playing musical status in the lounge room, digging in the garden and finding warms. These small moments are my life and what I want to remember.
So many of the pictures I share mums relate to. That moment my children decided to have a tantrum in the supermarket and I just so happened to have my camera with me. I’ve had mums tell me that they love the way I have captured their child’s face expressions so well. Or that this is what my life is like at the moment and in 5 years time it’s going to be so different. You won't be rocking that little one to sleep any more. Sad but true.
Capturing photographs of your family should make you feel something in all its beauty and chaos. They should evoke an understanding and not portray an ideal. So when you and your children look back at your family photos in 20 years you remember how that season of life felt. You’re not going to remember it all. Time and childhood waits for no one. As time draws closer to when all my children are at school. I’m in a panic to document the ending of an era. We don't get do overs. I want my children to see the love in my eyes and how I celebrate them.
Just recently my dad got all our family pictures of the slides and into the digital world. My life as a Canadian is a distant memory. Recently Ive come to a point in my life that I don't even feel like a Canadian anymore and I feel silly when people ask me where I come from, because of my very faint accent, but I’ve lived in Australia well over half my life. Now I have a record of what life was like as a Canadian.
Here are a few examples of what my parents photographed that I would never remember without these photos:
- Those winter days ice skating on the lake
- Or making igloos instead of cubby houses.
- Oh my gosh, the fashion and furniture.
- That christmas we spent at my Grandmas and Grandpas and us kids in the spa outside in the snow. Our hair was like icicles.
- That time I dress up as a purple people eater for the ice-skating parade.
- That time I went to horse camp
These are just a few examples of memories my parents preserved. My gratefulness to my dadfor giving me these pictures is really indescribable.
On average I take 1000 pictures a month. I make a photo album each year for each of my children. How their little faces light up when their album arrives in the mail. The joy they have looking back over these albums is priceless.
Really I’m calling attention to a lost art—the art of photographing and preserving memories. Let’s put soul back into our pictures.
I give families a printed album of their photos with all sessions. It provides something tangible to my clients to help them see the value of getting photos off devices and into their lives.
I would love to hear from you guys about what moments in your daily life you want captured. In this season, what are your kids doing that you want to remember?