I’m giving myself the month of February to convince each and every one of you that documentary family photography has its place in our world. That means I will be sharing blogs, photos, videos, and many feelings explaining how this niche of photography has changed so many lives.
You will meet new photographers, see photos of mine that I’ve never shown before, and hear, on an almost daily basis, why I’ve chosen this path.
Why one month? Because I think it will take that long for some people to see the light.
Why read all these posts? Because like I said, people’s lives have been dramatically changed and I think those are always stories worth telling and consuming.
Why February? Because families don’t usually start reaching out to me until late summer, early fall for their photos. And your life happens every day! Not just on the days closer to when you need a Christmas card photo.
Why showcase work from other photographers? Because I feel, very deeply, that there is room for all of us here. And not only is there room, but I would like to celebrate other women doing this work and doing it well.
To me, documentary photography is a universal, resounding, “ME TOO!” So often, when we see a photo online, it was curated. It was posed to make each person look “their best.” The outfits may be matching or at the very least, the family’s nicest items. The image was culled down from lots of different options, because we only want to show the best angles, positions, and lighting.
And this? It infuriates me. My life is lots of different colors. I’ve laughed the hardest at angles that probably aren’t my most flattering. I’ve eaten my most delicious meals in the worst light. I’ve made my best memories in some of my grubbiest clothes, just sitting around my house.
And if you examine your own life, I’m sure the same is true for you. What I want to remember about my life are the moments that often go un-captured … making meals with my husband, taking the dog out every morning in my pajamas, baking in my messy kitchen, and reading by the fire at night.
These small moments are literally the sum of my life. And that’s the life I would like to remember.
I want the images I share, of myself and of my clients, to make people laugh. I want the people who see them to say, “Oh my goodness, I do that with my kids too!” or “We stay in our jammies all morning on Saturdays too!” or “My kid throws a tantrum in the grocery store tooooooo!”
Photographs should make us feel. They should show humanity, in all its beauty and difficulty. They should elicit an understanding, not portray an ideal. So why documentary? Because when you and your kids look back on your family photos in 20 years, I want you to remember how this season of your life felt. I want to give you the gift real of memories, not faded ones.
Please, please stick with me this month as I share some special moments with clients and introduce you to photographers around the country who feel as passionately as I do. I hope at the very least, it will help you see the significance of any documentary or journalistic work. At the very most, I hope you gain an understanding of the kind of photographs you want for you and your family—the ones that will be here long after we’re gone.