Two photos today: the first is a much loved picture in our family album and the second is my favorite photo of all time. I suppose it will always be.
We all keep our family photographs for the obvious reasons of nostalgia, family bonds, humor, longing, history, love. But I think that Photographers (meaning working pros and perhaps serious amateurs) fail to recognize the importance of continuing to make these images. I’ve been thinking of this as I have been working on a project of gathering images from family members and combining them with anecdotes into a volume that will be printed. What has struck me so profoundly is that I can’t remember a single thing about the ACT of making the photographs that I’ve contributed. I can’t remember the camera I used….how/when they were developed….it’s as if I was totally absent in the mechanical process. Oddly, I can tell you everything about every image made since 2005 (when I became a ‘serious’ photographer). Do we feel the weight of needing to make a photograph rather than just recording a moment? Are we then separated from the experience and does that separation reveal itself in our work? Are we more or less present when recording moments in our own lives? How do we eliminate the distinction, or should we?
A far better writer and photographer than me has lived this theme. Sam Abell often lectures on The Photographic Life. If the opportunity arises for you to hear a lecture, take a class, or pick up one of his books, don’t miss it. As that Great American, Arthur Meyerson once introduced Sam……I give you the Dalai Lama of photography: www.samabell-thephotographiclife.com
My last point: when I asked my now 25 year old son what he would like for his birthday, he said “a copy of that photograph of Jess, Will, and me, in Florida at Uncle Charlie’s…you know the one….it’s my favorite photograph of all time”.