“Why are you a photographer? What got you started?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked these questions. For a long time, it was hard to come up with an answer I felt truly encompassed all the reasons why. Photography means a lot to me and the passion didn’t just develop overnight (no pun intended).
When something means so much to a person, as Her Side Project does to me, it is no longer just another thing to analyze and explain. It’s personal. To label it, brand it, explain it, is one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. However, I’ve known for a long time that it needed to be done.
So I did some soul searching. I went through old images. I re-read blog entries. I desperately tried to figure out where this passion stemmed from. I know I started seriously taking pictures in college, but couldn’t pinpoint one photo shoot in particular that stood out as a turning point. The light bulb moment isn’t clearly defined or easily identifiable. In fact, I’m not even sure it exists. So what was it? What kept me going? What keeps me going now?
And then it hit me.
I have a passion for capturing people at various stages of their lives. I never want a mother to forget what it was like to be young, chasing after a crazy, dirty little two year old kid. A man, after recently proposing to his future bride, needs to remember what it felt like in that short timeframe, gazing into her eyes with the promise of forever lingering in the air. A baby, curled up safe against her father’s chest with mom’s hand resting softly on her back. These memories are fleeting and might be forgotten without photographs. Life will change, it will never be like this again. Sure, there are even more good times ahead and things to eagerly anticipate, but any phase of life isn’t forever.
More than looking at an old picture, I want the photograph to serve as a time machine, immediately transporting whoever is looking at it back to that moment. This theory primarily applies to the parents and adults photographed, something with which they can reminisce. However, it’s also for the babies and kids who may have been pictured, but are too young to remember the circumstances. Compelling pictures provide a glimpse into the past.
I know personally, without photographs, there would be a void in my life. One of my favorite pasttimes is digging through large cardboard boxes loaded down with pounds of pictures – some yellowed or with worn edges – of my parents when they were young, of my little sister when she was born in the hospital, of me playing in our old backyard.
Without these photos, who’s to say I’d even know about these moments at all? I am so blessed to be able to look back on photographs that capture who we were, who we are, and serve as a snapshot of who we might still become.
The list goes on and on.