Photographs in our lives

Two photos today:  the first is a much loved picture in our family album and the second is my favorite photo of all time.  I suppose it will always be.

We all keep our family photographs for the obvious reasons of nostalgia, family bonds, humor, longing, history, love.  But I think that Photographers (meaning working pros and perhaps serious amateurs) fail to recognize the importance of continuing to make these images.  I’ve been thinking of this as I have been working on a project of gathering images from family members and combining them with anecdotes into a volume that will be printed.   What has struck me so profoundly is that I can’t remember a single thing about the ACT of making the photographs that I’ve contributed.  I can’t remember the camera I used….how/when they were developed….it’s as if I was totally absent in the mechanical process.  Oddly, I can tell you everything about every image made since 2005 (when I became a ‘serious’ photographer).  Do we feel the weight of needing to make a photograph rather than just recording a moment? Are we then separated from the experience and does that separation reveal itself in our work?   Are we more or less present when recording moments in our own lives?  How do we eliminate the distinction, or should we?

A far better writer and photographer than me has lived this theme.  Sam Abell often lectures on The Photographic Life.  If the opportunity arises for  you to hear a lecture, take a class, or pick up one of his books, don’t miss it.   As that Great American, Arthur Meyerson once introduced Sam……I give you the Dalai Lama of photography:         www.samabell-thephotographiclife.com

My last point:  when I asked my now 25 year old son what he would like for his birthday, he said “a copy of that photograph of Jess, Will, and me, in Florida at Uncle Charlie’s…you know the one….it’s my favorite photograph of all time”.

5 Responses to “Photographs in our lives”

  1. 1 Jess
    October 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I love your bio photo. You’re the cutest! : )

  2. October 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    The Dalai Lama of photographic living was my dad. He died when I was three and left behind a collection of amazing images from Will Rogers to my mom in a hat embracing Marlene Dietrich selling war bonds in Akron, OH, the city of my birth. My dad drove to NY at 18 to photograph Charles Lindbergh’s landing and sold his shot to UP. Enough with the evidence of important people photographs…without my dad’s photographing who he was and what surrounded him, I would never have known him let alone how he felt about his beautiful tow-headed wife, his children, his environment, or the world.

    I studied the legacy of prints in an attic crawl space until I left for college at 17. Photographs have influenced every breath I take.

    Good luck with your blog, Keron.

  3. October 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Thank you, Honey,
    And thank you for the moving remarks about your Dad and photography. It serves to underscore why I’m such a fan of yours.


  4. October 26, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Hey Keron,

    First, it is great to see your blog up and running. It is time for me to do the same.

    Think about the many editorial photographers who have to really disconnect from their subject. They are often among friends while recording horrific moments. Harry Benson was a keynote this past weekend at Photo Plus NY. He spoke about how he became very close to the Kennedy’s while covering events. He was there when Robert was shot… He kept shooting, telling himself he had to record this scene.

    On another note. If I had to give up all my photographs except one, I would certainly take one of family over any of the photo’s that I have taken elsewhere.


    • October 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      Hey Rick,
      Thanks! Now, tell all your photog friends about it. : )
      I’d really like to see you working on yours. You have so much to offer and once you start doing it
      I think you’ll find it’s contagious. I’ve got a stack of ideas already recorded for upcoming posts and
      I’m excited about developing all of them. Let’s take a page from Scott Kelby and have you do a guest


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