Like you, and most people I would assume, I like having family portraits around and know that they play an important role over a lifetime. You would think that as a photographer that I would have at least a new portrait every year, but like everyone else, I too have failed to make the time in the past. Sadly, life rarely gives us the time to even think about needing a new portrait, let alone being able to call around to photographers, schedule a session, and get one taken.
There are many reasons to get family portraits done: they chronicle the extremely fast growth of our beloved children, they give us something to put on our Christmas cards, and as I and my extended family recently found out, they give us a way to look back and remember.
This month, my uncle who was in his late 50s passed suddenly from something that his doctors had missed even a couple days before his passing. He left behind a wife and 5 daughters as well as 3 siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. As I was preparing a slideshow presentation for showing at his funeral, I was saddened to see how few of pictures we had of him. Now my uncle was not the type of person who liked to be in front of a camera, so it wasn’t a total surprise that the number was less than his age, but what caused some unnecessary pain for his family was that he had no pictures from when he was with his ex-wife and his two oldest daughters. Even his daughters did not have many photos of them with their father. I was unable to represent them in the slideshow and it seemed unfair and silly that he did not take one hour of his time each year to get photos of himself with his family. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but for so many of us we just don’t give it a second thought as we go through our lives.
So remember, don’t get pictures for yourself, get family portraits for your children and grandchildren. Life is so unpredictable that you never know what situations a fresh family portrait will come in handy. And if nothing else, it gives you the satisfaction of knowing your loved ones will always be able to remember you. You are special and unique and should exist in photos, even if only for your loved ones.
In Loving Memory of Richard J. Webber, Jr. May 1952 – March 2010