As I thought about this work “immortality” I am forced to think about my own. Being a photographer my job is to capture images for people to pass on so they can in a way, become immortal. It’s a given we are all going to pass from this world, but we can leave incredible memories for those we leave behind. I was reminded of this just this past week, as our area suffered an EF2 tornado. Living in Florida, they do happen mostly out in the water and are known as ‘water spouts’, but in the past week we have had some pretty severe weather which has ignited the atmosphere with tornadic activity. In one close by neighborhood many families had devastating loss of property; everything was blown all over the neighborhood, including photographs. Someone in the neighborhood found the photographs and posted them on Facebook to see if they could find the owners, saying “we know these mean something to someone and want to get them to the owner”. I am hoping the family whom the photos belonged were reunited.
These past few weeks with the death of several celebrities like actor Alan Rickman, singer songwriter, performer David Bowie and most recently Glenn Frey of the Eagles, I’ve been taking a walk down memory lane looking at the photos from years past. As a concert photographer I know when I am photographing an artist that I am one of those who will be continuing their legacy. In late 2013 I had the honor of photographing the late Johnny Winter in concert and in July 2014 he passed away; I may very well be one of the last people to have photographed him, I have that photo printed and in a scrap book.
All the time I am questioned as to why I don’t offer digital images and I tell potential clients it’s because you are the legacy to your children and grandchildren, without physical photographs in hand, you may not have your story visually told. Sure I could offer DVD’s or flash drives full of photographs, but the chances of that making it out of a disaster and found or if found not being corrupted is slim; and your life events recorded upon that digital media will be gone forever. Not to mention the fast paced change we see with the way digital media is stored, there may not be a way to view those images in the future. I suffered this loss myself when I lost my hard drive in 2005 from hurricane Wilma, the electrical surge fried my computer and all of my youngest son’s graduation photos were on that computer……now lost forever.
So for everyone who takes photographs, no matter if you use a point & shoot, dslr or your cell phone, please make prints of your work. It does not matter if you are shooting wildlife, your pets, your family or even those selfies. Take those digital images and print them out and put them in an album. I have done this, I have photos of my adult children, my cat and my adventures with wildlife. I also have a scrap book of just about all the concerts I have photographed on a professional level along with the credentials that went with the concert. This is to preserve my legacy as a concert photographer and the personal photos will insure, my family will be remembered long after I am gone.
As a woman who sets goals for herself I work toward those goals through a timeline of individual ways of reaching those goals. Last year I wrote out a five year plan and as I completed the first year I realized I have begun a life that will allow me to be working for myself and enjoying my many passions. This is the year to really establish myself as a photographer and market myself and actually make an income. I have also decided what type of photography I want to work in. I want to photograph weddings, portraiture; especially women and of course my events and concerts. I feel that this is where I do my very best work and I am so incredibly passionate about these avenues.
It’s not easy when people don’t value my time or effort and think all I do is “push a button”. They forget the time spent in preparation of the work, time spent actually photographing and all the post work that goes into the captured images. I belong to several online groups where I am able to share my frustrations and gain some input into how to handle those clients who don’t understand I’m creating a lifetime of memories for them. What I do is unique to me and I only put out my best work to the clients. In this day and age anyone with a digital camera is a photographer, but I would like to think my lifetime of experience sets me apart from those who have never looked through a viewfinder until they purchased their first basic DSLR. It’s incredibly frustrating to have someone tell me how wonderful my work is yet they feel they can cheapen what I do by wanting me to lower my prices for them. If I am going to make a living doing this, I need to help my clients to understand my value.
Being the daughter of a professional photographer I grew up understanding the basics of what it takes to make an incredible photograph, and the lessons learned in that darkroom have manifested into how I see and process the images I take. I view things as a painter of light and I can see composition in the simplest of ideas. I know a few photographers who take incredible photographs simply with their cell phones and yes I call them photographers because they understand light and composition and see things so uniquely, they are constantly producing some of the most creative images I have ever seen. The camera is simply an instrument of what the eyes see and the heart feels.
My job as your photographer is to creative an image that first tells a story and second will leave a legacy to your family and lastly to make you feel and look incredible no matter if you are male or female. You cannot put a value on that. Anyone who has taken photos of their children understand this concept. When people lose their homes to flood or fire or some natural disaster they first thing they either take with them or look for is their photographs, why? Because many of those photographs are from an era that has passed and it’s all they have left of a loved one. I am so honored to have many of the photographs my father took and those from my mother’s family.
So when you see my work and you visit my menu of services, remember the value of those photographs, they are my passion and understand my frustration when you undervalue your legacy.