I am so excited to share this post about this growing family because documenting families in this way is something I’m incredibly passionate about. First, I should probably tell you that this little video embedded here is what I call a birth story. It’s not exactly a video. But it’s not just pictures. It’s a story because the voices in the recording are of the subjects, and what they’ve done is created a family heirloom that they can pass down for generations.
I believe in preserving family history because of my desire to preserve my own for my future children and descendants. Almost nothing is more precious to me than the images I have of my grandparents. I’ve got a copy of a raw and beautiful portrait of my paternal grandmother in the ’80s. It was taken by a distant relative who I never met, but who also dedicated his life to photography. It’s a gorgeous photo, and one I love because I didn’t get to know that grandparent well before she died. I also have a copy of a portrait of my maternal grandmother from the ’50s. The first time I saw it, I sobbed, clutching my chest to force myself to keep breathing. She looked so beautiful and young, and having discovered it a week after she died, I was so thankful that the print existed. I also have a few of her and my grandfather with my toddler-aged mom, their first born. And then of course, I have a copy of their wedding portrait, and one of them exchanging vows during their ceremony. My grandfather pointed to the framed copy of it on this wall six months ago as he wished my fiance and I a long marriage like the one he had.
These photographs of days and moments are priceless to me, and throughout my life they’ve been capable of providing comfort and understanding, piquing my curiosity, and catalyzing a career. They’re the reason I’m a photographer today.
Throughout my adolescence, and before camera phones, I found myself wanting to photograph my everyday life. I took pictures of my friends at school, and manned the camera on family vacations, and eventually turned my hobby into being the historian of about every club and organization I was in during middle and high school. I just wanted to keep all the moments. I didn’t want to let them go. Having had a few losses in my life since then, I’ve learned that I do have to let them go, and that a picture won’t keep them from passing by. But, an honest photo can still be magic. It can still offer comfort, it can be a tool of encouragement, and it can even help you share your past with your present.
So here we are, discussing the power of a picture. But now, imagine the power of a picture with a story. What if you could go back in time to hear your dad as a young man describe the way he felt the first time he held you in his arms? What if you had pictures of your childhood, narrated by your mom as a new mother? How would it make you feel to hear their voices and see from their perspective, what it was like to become parents and how you changed their family dynamic? I yearn for this type of nostalgia, and that’s why I offer heirloom slideshows.
The family you come from and the family you’re creating are worth remembering. It’s your life, documented beautifully.
Here’s a sample below. I hope you enjoy.