I have mixed feelings about family portraiture. Yes we do them for hire. And several times I have become close friends with those families who were once strangers. But most of the time I approach new family sessions with some trepidation. People I barely know are trusting me with memories of their family and for me that responsibility is often more daunting than any world famous commercial studio session.
But when close friends ask about family portraiture it’s something I relish. I know these folks, they’ve been friends for some time and we have the trust of friendship. I’m not a stranger saying ‘say cheese!” (I never do that anyway, it’s so stupid…) And so many of my friends have new families which harkens me back to the days when my own children were young. Like most parents they each want ‘cute, pretty, cuddly…Awww’ photos of their young ones. You know the kind, the ones I use to carry in my wallet (now electronic devices) and proudly show people who never even asked if I had children.
But my favorites and the type I long for of my own parenting history are those others may view as simply unremarkable. Yet those are the moments I remember with my own children. Watching my son as he did his ‘setups.’ Carefully placing Army men or trains in his own arrangements. Or watching my daughter carefully removing simple plastic bracelets she received at a party and gently placing them on her wrist admiring each one. I never recall those times we took them to Sears or JC Penny’s for their ‘real’ photos, all dressed up and hearing the photographer yell out ‘say cheese.’ I always remember thinking to myself, “This guy could care less about my kids, he’s just taking a photo.”
I want my memories to match the photos in my wallet. I wish I had those moments when Niko did his setups or Nori adorned herself with those simple plastic bracelets. So today as I watched my friends Paul and Gina ‘get ready’ for photos, those were the moments I captured the in between instants, the ones I would want in my own wallet. Enzo may never remember his Despicable Me Minion chair and his brother Dante will certainly never recall our session today.
But what they will remember if they see these photos is the time spent with Dad and Mom. And for me I want those memories to match the photos in their wallets.