Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why Photography Is Important

The following is something I shared with a group of friends, fellow wedding photographers, on a wedding photography forum yesterday. It was so well received that I decided to post it here as well.

I was shooting an e-session this past weekend at the Mesa Arts Center with my pastor's daughter, Christine and her fiance, Christian. The place has this fabulous blue wall that I love to use as a background element and all kinds of nifty water features.

We were taking these shots at one of the water features when I glimpse some movement coming into frame right (albeit out of focus).

Christine and Christian: E-Session

The movement was this little guy. He dropped in with lunch and just wanted a drink, so I snap a shot with him as the center of attention.

Christine and Christian: E-Session

...and then the bird flies away.

Christine and Christian: E-Session

It's at this point that I think, "That's why I do this...... To catch fleeting moments that will never be just so again. These two people; this place and time of day; this little bird......"

How often you hear stories about loved ones who've died and what comfort the photos bring to the family, or sadder still when they pass on and the thought is, "We were going to get some photos done....." I'd been talking with someone about getting a shot of the various members of their family for some time and one day one of them was, like this bird, no longer there. Gone......

Have you ever seen a movie where someone suffers the loss of a loved one and they interact with a photo on the nightstand, drawing it close and examining the features, tracing them with a finger and then embracing it? Sure you have. Maybe some of you have actually interacted with photos in that way.

It's not just the passing of loved ones that may trigger this emotional connection to our art. Moms might sit on the side of the bed holding a photo of a son or daughter who's left home for college or a job in a distant place. Parents look back at photos of their children when they were younger and you see a trace of a smile at the corners of their mouth and a faint twinkle in the eye.

There's a reason why we hear about people dragging the family photos out of a burning or flooding home - sometimes even risking their lives. I can't picture someone racing back into a burning house to rescue the frozen wedding cake or tearfully tracing the edges of the caterer's menu.

This may sound maudlin or sappy or even self-serving, but as important as they may be to the whole experience, I just don't see the other things folks spend money on to make their wedding day "special" being able to have the same impact over time as our images and albums.

That's why I think that what we do as photographers is important.

I don't mean to take away from Christian and Christine, but this was just something I've been mulling over since the shoot. I'll put up some more photos in a blog post that's actually about the couple in a few days.


Mike Hamann said...

Thanks for this. Well done. You've motivated to get movin on the baby pictures!

Mike Hamann

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Carlos. I loved this!

Anonymous said...

I have recently done some bereavement photography and this sums up exactly how important it is to families and loved ones. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Love that middle photo with the bird on the edge of the water!

Kirsten Alana said...

Definitely just teared up.

Anonymous said...

nice images!

Amy T Schubert said...

this is fantastic. Exactly what I've been thinking ... thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wht you said makes all the tense in the World.
Without photos, Many memories would be for gotten.
They do indeed help you to remember and thts why i love photography.
I may only be 17 but i thnk its my calling thank you!

carlos benjamin - benjphoto.com said...

Anonymous - If you have a passion for it, take hold and don't let go.

Anonymous said...

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

carlos benjamin - benjphoto.com said...

I'm BenjPhoto on twitter. Since you're anonymous and didn't leave a link to your blog I don't know how to answer you.

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carlos benjamin - benjphoto.com said...

Thanks Anete,

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