I wonder sometimes how many people really get what I do. Not just that I take pictures of people, but what I really try to accomplish, why I take pictures like I do. Over the past few months I have been working on my elevator pitch, you know that thing you tell someone when you first meet them to tell them what you do. I thought of all these great words to tell people about how I stop time and preserve their memories, blah, blah, blah. This is all true but it is so much more than that!
The memories I have from childhood are all images that are sparked from a picture. They are there because someone snapped a photo and that photo then become the memory. I remember going to a gathering one time after a friend had passed away. Spread out on the table in the middle was a pile of pictures. Not one picture was from olan mills, jc penny’s or sears. Each picture told a story. Every snapshot was a piece of his history. Fishing trips with the boys, dinner around that kitchen table they had in the house they had lived in their whole life, silly pictures at that annual family picnic. They were all real life pictures!
I take those pictures. The pictures of the whole, entire, complete family, all in one place at one time. Normal everyday pictures of real life, real moments, real memories.
When you think about that summer when you were 8, what do you remember? I remember going to my Granddaddy’s, eating tomatoes off the vine or fishing with him in the river and while I have a few pictures of him and me, it’s not very many. Those precious pictures I do have are what keep those memories alive 30 years later. They are what allow me to share those memories with my kids. A picture of me eating one of Granddaddy’s watermelons with it all over my face, sitting next to him means so much more than that one image I have of him, my mother and me at all posed and stiff.
I often feel like I struggle in telling you what it is I do. Sure I often ask the question "What is your story?" but do people really get it? Do you know how many times I think about quitting this job?
I stay up all hours of the night to work on things to try and explain myself. Thank goodness my kids sleep until 8:30a, because my 2a self is not so nice early in the morning. My brain never shuts off about how to grow my business or tell more stories or show more beautiful real life images. The pressure to put yourself out there on social media, my website, in person… it’s so overwhelming and just plain tiring. How can I get seen more, how can I attract the right kind of client, how can I tell their story better? I can’t keep up anymore. I am sure many creatives and entrepreneurs feel this way some days. We pour our heart and soul into this.
Tonight I stepped out of the shower only to realize I didn’t have a clean towel in the bathroom. I then quickly remembered that I don’t have any clean towels in the house, anywhere because I haven’t taken the time to do laundry. (Let’s not talk about last week when I didn’t have any clean underwear). Sometimes I get it washed, but then it sits in baskets for a week, until I am out of baskets to put it in. The funny thing is, it’s not that I don’t have the time to do it. I could certainly make the time, but my brain won’t turn work off enough to get house work done. I can never walk away from work. I still shoot for fun, I’m still keeping up with my 365 project (well at least shooting anyway), but the business side of things is just weighing me down. It’s all consuming and wearing both me and my family out.
I am losing my own family time, my own sanity, my own clean laundry…
Then I get stories like this.
This family plants a tree for each child, grandchild, and great-grandchildren. Some have oaks, some trees have died, but these grandkids today get fruit trees, apples, peaches and a mulberry. This image show grandkids with Grandma and Great Grandma planting the little girl’s apple tree. Her mom and dad are soon moving back to Hawaii and this is the last weekend she will be spending with her grandparents.
This little girl will never remember planting this tree when she is older, but she will still have this memory. In ten years from now, while visiting her Grandparents, she will think about this image while biting into a fresh, ripe, juicy apple.
Telling someone else's story, no matter how mundane or simple, keeps me going, keeps me pushing, keeps me from having clean towels.
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