This year has been a growing and a learning season. We grow by leaps and bounds, and I continue to grow as a photographer and a person, but I often ask myself, "What is the goal, or purpose, of my work?" My heart always answers back, "To create something that families will love and cherish always." And that's not a generic answer, but really how I feel. There is often more emotional energy involved in photography than most people would ever know. To see, in an instant, what expression or action will best characterize the person you photograph, means you forever record in that moment how others will reflect on them later. If you do it right, it is not merely snapping away with the camera.
I look back at images of my grandmother and all the Christmases past that we had together as a family. An image of her washing dishes at the sink, turned halfway to the camera and smiling. An image of her carrying a stack of wood in, with snow drifted to her knees, wearing her usual red flannel coat. Small details of a person I love so dearly that don't fade with time, but remain there for me to grasp as I need. Other images of her with my grandfather and mother, as a baby, in their home in a coal mining town. All three of them sitting on an iron bed together one December, it is a rather sobering image. I know they worked much harder than I'll ever know, and yet they made it. A gift of my mother's handprint hangs on the wall. Christmas was about the little things, like oranges, apples, or rather fruits not of the iPod kind. The picture creates a story in my head about a time and a place that I would have never known. By the time I was born the picture had changed greatly.
We spend a lot of time and money on things that pile up in our homes. And the truth is and I am sure it holds true for most people, if you could trade all that for a Christmas past, you would in a heartbeat. It is the SIMPLE GRACES that get us thru life. Take a moment over the holiday to look around, look at all the details of your loved ones. Take out that camera, whatever it may be, and keep those memories, because on December 26, they then become a Christmas past.