This is going to be the first time I'm writing a very personal blog that is not directed to my philosophies on photography or research or inspirations, but about why I think it is important to take family portraits regularly.
As a family we used to get together every couple of months for a family picture. Usually after church as that was the only time my sister and I would look semi decent according to my mom. My dad would set up his Pentax Spotmatic F in the sitting room and we would all squeeze onto the little couch. I still remember the sound of the timer and the loud shutter. We used to dread those Sundays but it was quick and painless, two shots and we hope for the best!
Now we treasure those images as it tells us about a stage in our lives that we might've wanted to forget. When everyone thought you were a boy because of your hair. Or when you had braces and did't know how to smile. You see your dads hair getting less and your mom's glasses getting smaller. You see the change in style and the change in attitude. But you see the thread quite prominently, the bond, the love that you share for each other that would not be destroyed with a disagreement, distance or any bad hair day!
The year is drawing to an end and this is the time that we start turning our attention to our families again. Although we know our attention should be on the family through the whole year, we struggle to stick to this. Life gets busy, work is demanding and we can't keep all the balls in the air at once.
What happens if we drop a ball? What happens if you've lost your job or had a massive fight with a good friend or broke up with the girlfriend? Who is there to pick up the pieces and have been there for as long as you can remember? It's your family, may it be your wife or your child, your sister or your father, even your dog. Doesn't matter if they give you some good advice or just give you a loving hug.
Through the year we tend to forget about this very important support structure, the safe space that we take for granted. We live in a unpredictable world. We have no idea what will happen tomorrow, who will be taken from us and who might be left behind. My father passed away very suddenly less than 4 years ago, and now that last picture of the four of us is the most valuable shot my Canon at that time has ever taken.
We can't afford to let these moments pass us without acknowledging the importance. Take the time this festive season to reconnect and to appreciate what you have. You'll miss it when it's gone, believe me...