This past week, when the news broke about the devastating tornadoes that hit in the central region of our beloved country, the thought of the numerous lives lost just broke my heart. I pray that each of those families can find comfort in each memory of their vanished loved one. When hearing about the loss of more lives, I can't help but think about my own family and how much I love them. I try to make sure I tell them so as often as I can.
Every year for the past 21 years, I have been taking yearly photographs of my own children - usually around the Thanksgiving holiday. In the beginning they were pretty good snap shots, and I was quite happy with them; as time went on, I was able to proudly display the images I had taken on my mantel of the kids from babies to young adults. It is one of my favorite traditions, and I can remember those beginning years like it was just last week. Every photograph I take helps to keep my memories alive, and I treasure each and every image. When I began working in the portrait industry 16 years ago, the importance of a phenomenal family portrait taken by a trained professional suddenly became important to me. When my youngest was 4 and the twins were 8, we had our first professional family portrait taken. It was then that I noticed the highlight in the hair and the soft directional lighting that sweeps across faces giving shape and dimension. I still have this family portrait hanging on my wall. This is where my passion and appreciation of a great portrait blossomed into a desire to capture memories for families who want to hold on to each one.
In 2004, the first class I took at the Professional Photographers School of Texas was with Don Macgregor (http://www.macgregorstudios.com). From the day I met Don, I knew he was an extraordinary man with an overwhelming passion for his craft and an unbelievable willingness to share it with anyone who would request his services. Studying with such a man had a life changing impact on me emotionally; furthermore, he gave me a new perspective on viewing portraiture. He showed me how to “see the light” in a way I never had seen it before. He told a variety of stories about his portraits and the types of characters in each family and the value of his portraits to his clients, especially those who had lost a family member.
I especially remember the last day of our class; he shared a very personal, yet compelling story of a beautiful woman and what she endured, and then played a slideshow of his photographs set to music. I believe there were about 25 of us in that class, and I tell you, everyone was sobbing, including Don. The power behind the story was woven into this simple slideshow and it was stunning how impactful photographs can be. Thank you, Don, for your passion and love of photography.
My prayers go out to all the families devastated by loss of their loved ones. May their memory be treasured in those portraits you have of them.
So here is where I ask:
How important is a photograph to you?