Why Pictures Matter

Since my mom passed away it’s been an adjustment to say the least. Sometimes it isn’t the reality that my mom passed away that makes me cry; it’s the fear that somehow I’m going to forget her forever. Sometimes I can’t remember what she looked liked after chemo, or what her smile looked like - or the way she’d sit at the computer writing emails.

But that’s when pictures matter.

I have this picture of my mom that’s out of focus and the white balance is off, but it’s a picture of her making some paper craft. It was right before she started chemo and lost all that weight. We were happy. And despite the poor quality of that picture, I love it because it spurs up memories of my mom.

My dad’s been uncovering all these letters and old pictures from my mom. He’s so happy sharing those memories with me and my siblings. And to tell you the truth, seeing those pictures really does make me happy. I love to see the pictures of my mom en route somewhere or in the middle of doing something. It reminds me of my mom’s spirit and how alive she once was. And how happy she must be in heaven. I’m so thankful that there was someone who snapped those pictures of my  mom. They weren’t concerned with lighting or composition. They saw a moment and wanted a picture. So simple.

As a photographer I’ve been in this rut of only taking “pretty” pictures of “pretty” things.  I’ve strayed from the days of taking pictures of everything. Nowadays I find myself “styling” images because that’s what I do for a living. But looking at that pile of images from when my mom was alive reminds me how beautiful the “imperfect” picture can be.

I’m encouraged to take pictures of the “ugly” moments, the moments that usually escape my memory first. Because when a moment or loved one is gone, it’s these images that really help you preserve your memories.

So I want to urge everyone out there, take a picture of your every day life, un-staged, un-scripted. One day you’ll be grateful for those images.

For me when I feel myself struggling to remember my mom, I’m so grateful for images like these that trigger those memories I thought I lost.