Just this past Tuesday I saw a post from another photographer that about knocked me out of my chair. In short it is a letter that the photographer had received from a former client to thank her for the years of memories that she captured for her family. The client had the note hand delivered as she was too sick to deliver it herself. You can read the article here and I encourage you to do so. Warning: have tissues nearby.
Welcome back. I will wait while you wipe the tears away. Now that you can read the screen again I will continue.
I started thinking about this particular letter and being a total cynic I even questioned if it was true or not. Then I realized that it doesn’t matter if it is true or not, which BTW I do now believe it is true. There is a good reason why too. You see, my wife’s mother passed away from cancer when my wife was about 20, so this story hits fairly close to home for me. In fact until my wife reads this article she won’t know of the article linked above because I thought it might hit too close to home.
When we go over to my father-in-law’s house for any reason I look around and I see that there are very few images of my wife’s mother. There is the portrait that was her graduation picture from nursing school and there is a small snapshot of her by the water fishing. In our home there are very few images as well and all of those are snapshots in small frames as well. I have seen very few images of Linda (my wife’s mother) at all yet there is rarely a visit that she isn’t mentioned in some respect by my wife’s family. The love they have for her is more than obvious.
So what happened? Did Linda just not like having her picture taken? Was it just not important enough? She was ill for a number of years fighting her cancer bravely and vigorously. Does it matter? The memories that the family has are still strong but there are few images to go with those memories.
The article I posted from Jeanine Thurston just reminded me of how often I look at the images of my father and how often I think about him. The images and the memories go together for me. I remember all the stories he used to tell (most at least exaggerated) and the few good times that are highlights in my life. This makes me feel for those that don’t have the images to go with the memories. So what if Jeanine charges $500 when all is said and done. As the old saying goes you can’t take it with you.
In that light you can’t take an image with you either, but an image left behind is likely to go much further than a few hundred dollars. In fact the memories that I think of when I look at my father’s image are worth so much more than that to me.
To go back to my wife and her family, her grandparents missed her when she and I started living together. That gave me the idea of doing a portrait of her (this is the image of my wife) for them to have. For years her grandfather would mention how he talked to her every day but recently she had gotten rather quiet. But he still talks to her picture anyway (he isn’t senile; he is just a bit silly).
When you have to ask yourself if getting portraits done or if hiring a photographer is really worth it, change the question. Ask yourself if this person wasn’t here tomorrow would you want the memory alone or would you like to look at them while you remember all the good times and how much you still love them?
Give me a call and lets save those memories.