Just before my grandmother’s funeral earlier this month, my sisters and I were gathering photos of her to showcase at her service. I came across this gem of a Polaroid and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since.
Those are my grandparents in the summer of 1953. The baby? Well, that’s my Dad. He was about a month old in this photograph. My Popaw was working out of town, and my Momaw and Dad went along to that little town so they could all be together. They were staying with relatives in this house. And that’s probably the relatives’ spotted dog in the background.
We found boxes and boxes of photos… some from the early 1900s, and some as recent as this past summer. Popaw has been the photographer of our family for years and years. Looking back on his countless images, he had a real eye for composition and light. His black and white prints are absolutely precious to me, as are these photographic links to my heritage.
I started thinking about how wonderful it is to have all of these photographs from Momaw’s younger days. To be able to put the pieces of her life together. To listen to Popaw tell us stories about when she was little, about when she and my Popaw were first married, and even when my Dad was just a boy. To see where they lived, the places they visited, and the friends they knew. The style of their life.
I would argue that the photograph above is the essence of lifestyle photography today. This is a pretty normal day for my grandparents, and the scene isn’t at all contrived or posed. They aren’t dressed up in their fanciest clothes or even matching colors, I’d bet. My grandpa is still in his work clothes, and it’s very likely that Momaw was out on that blanket enjoying the warm breeze when my Popaw arrived home that day, so he joined her on the blanket. They aren’t even looking at the camera. Rather, they’re relaxing on a blanket in the shade of a loved one’s home, looking at their sweet baby who is sleeping peacefully on this warm August afternoon. They’re close together and the mood is intimate and sweet.
This photograph, this image and the story behind it…. oh, this is something that I treasure! Just a peek into their normal routine, their lifestyle. To know that they were once young, blissed-out new parents, too. Just like we were.
What activities and future-memories do you treasure today?
Think about what feeling might sum up your family at this point in your lives. What would you like your children to know when they’re grown? Now think about that activity or feeling that it produces… what image do you see? Can you imagine that photograph in your mind? Can you create it?? Grab the shutter remote to your camera, snuggle up with your family and click away. Or hire a local photographer whom you trust to create that special image for you. Maybe someday your grandchildren will find that photograph and be unspeakably grateful that you did.