For as long as I can remember I have always loved taking pictures. I received my first point and shoot film camera at the age of five. The camera had a flash that attached separately. When I got that camera for my birthday, I immediately started to take pictures of everything, our family dog, my younger brothers, my parents, things in my bedroom, even my friends playing outside. My passion for photography came from my dad, who got it from his dad.
I would say that it seems as though I have come from a long line of photographers. My family has the art of photography engrained within them. It is not enough to simply take a picture, we document our lives. The day-to-day events that we capture consist of, vacations we take, graduations, swim lessons, gymnastics, sporting events, and even silly things like a child taking a bath. We seize each moment in time, pausing life’s passing treasures.
Taking four years of high school photography led me to my passion for black and white photography. Storm clouds over the Sierras translate into a work of art in black and white, where sunrises and sunsets appear more vibrant in color. Unfortunately, my old-school point and shoot camera did not have the functionality of the digital images we can edit and produce today. Utilizing different films, which produced optional black and white versus color options, could be a daunting task. Finding the correct film was an adventure, searching high and low, and going from store to store. Programs such as, Photoshop and other phone applications, allow us the freedom and ease of immediate photo editing.
As soon as I discovered I was pregnant, I chose to document my growing belly week by week. Every Saturday I would wake up, workout, shower, and attempt to make myself presentable. Making myself presentable was tricky, however, because I used our tiny half bathroom. Turning to the side, making sure my belly could be seen, and taking several different shots was most cumbersome. Some weeks you couldn’t see my belly growing, while other weeks it was quite obvious.
At this point, it should come as no surprise, that I captured the evolution of my son’s nursey. This would prove to record all of our fondest memories leading up to our son’s birth. It is true, that I am a mom attempting to encapsulate every second I can with my son. Social media is a blessing and a curse because, it is the easiest way for me to record daily occurrences I not only wish to share, but save. I view my son riding his bike, running through a splash pad, and making a mess when he eats his popsicle, as momentous occasions. I understand that there will be people who could care less, but this is my way of savoring the milestones to share with him later on in life, as well as sharing with our family members.
Kids grow so fast, especially in their first few years. They not only grow in height, but their facial features become more prominent, and hair development is ever changing. For example, my son has a cowlick that moves a bit to the right as his head expands and elongates. Of course, some kids have eye color changes starting around six to nine months, and up until around twelve months. Our pediatrician has also told us that this can occur all the way until a child is six years old. Six years is an expansive amount of time for childhood developments.
I believe that, like me, there are many other parents who document their children’s lives daily.
When I purchased my cell phone I considered the camera it came with. It became less about all of the other functions, and more about the clarity of the photographs it could take. You have to love instant gratification between cell phone cameras, applications to social media, and instant uploads to friends and family.
Many people would say that having these options so conveniently accessible can also cause us to lose sight of the dangers surrounding us. Although, I enjoy photography, I also have to keep myself in check. We must always be cognitive and create awareness about predators who would seek out and use our moments as a source for diabolical acts. To this, I will say, that I am personally careful to ensure that my social media accounts are extraordinarily private. I will not fear these predators, but I will take the necessary precautions to alleviate any concerns for misuse of my photographs.
With all of that said, I say to you…
Take your pictures, document your life’s milestones, capture those invaluable moments, and share them. One day, I too, will receive still photographs from my childhood and reminisce. I know my dad would love the idea of me enjoying and sharing the times we had after he passes on. Memories fade just like the color of an old-time photo, but what remains is the passion to hold on to the moments that matter.