The Importance of Photography #100
The Importance of Photography #100
Today I'm recording my 100th podcast. It's taken a lot longer to get here than I had anticipated, but I'm glad I made it, and I hope there will be another 100 in my future. So I thought I'd talk about why I think photography is so important in our everyday lives. And it's not an attempt to pat myself on the back. So please hear me out. A few years after I grew up in portrait wedding photography business, I began to get calls from former clients for reprints about six months to a year later. And it was almost always of a grandparent who had passed away. What I came to find was that I was the one who took the last nice photo of them. Over the years, this has become a regular event and it's made me realize how much our medium is truly a record of our history. I know that's kind of obvious, but I'm not talking about the grander scheme of things, like photos we find in history books, but in the little ways, the personal ways, which I think is really more important than the events that make the news. Everyone has important people in their lives, and what makes these people important are the small events that happen on a regular basis. And I think photography helps us remember this history. Last year, I was in Mexico visiting a friend and her family whom I had not seen in over 30 years. While I was at her house, I noticed a photo of her parents which I thought was a horrible representation of the two lovely people sitting in front of me. People who still outwardly showed their love for one another. So I asked if I could do a sitting the next day. Unfortunately, it was less than two months later that my friend's father suddenly passed away just a month short of their 60th wedding anniversary.
Once again, I was the one who had taken the last photo of this couple together, and I'm really glad I had taken the time to make sure that I got it right. If you're interested in seeing it, I'll post the photo on the website where you can find the transcript of this podcast. Within the photo industry, portrait photography is often considered bottom of the barrel and it's very rarely taken seriously, but I'm realizing that it can make a real difference in people's lives, like my friend's family because those photos will always be a happy memory of their father and his love. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in Vietnam with a group and I shared a blurry black and white photo of my mom when she was four years old standing next to a lake. It was a small lake in Hanoi. This is evidenced by a monument in the distance that is still there today. This photo has helped me connect with my mom and the country of my birth. A gentleman on the trip also shared an old faded black and white photo of his grandfather. It was a really bad photo too. But it was so important to him because it was a photo of his grandfather being a janitor at a hospital he could not be treated at because of the color of his skin. Today, his grandson keeps that photo on his phone because he's a doctor at the same hospital. I think history is most important when it's about the people, the places, and the things close to us. And photographs help us keep that history alive.
So on this 100th episode, I ask that all of you do two things. First, stop deleting so much. It's our history that's being deleted. And second, value your work more, because it's part of your history, and your history is our history, whether or not it's a print-worthy photo. Thank you so much for listening. I'm really looking forward to the next 100 episodes.