Why Documentary Photography is Important...

It took me awhile to figure out the reason why I wasn't happy with my photography and why I didn't seem to progress as fast as other people did.  It seemed like everyone around me could shoot these amazing portraits while mine just seemed to fall, well, a little flat.  

Through various projects, classes, and Facebook groups, I finally realized what was "wrong" with me.  I don't like portraits.  Well, I guess I do...after all, I have at least 7 family/kid portraits hanging on my walls right now.  But with just portraits, there is something missing.  

Take a look at these two photographs from my childhood.  Which one are you drawn to?

portrait vs snapshot

For me, I definitely prefer the snapshot over the posed photograph.  Why?   It's not that the snapshot is amazing (and those JC Penney portraits certainly aren't amazing either)...but it's because I feel something.  It sparks a memory.  I remember that dress my mom is wearing (and playing dress up in it years later) and I remember sitting in the grass for hours playing with baby kittens.

It's my goal to capture my kids' childhood in such a way that when they look through their photo albums, they'll remember what it felt like to be 5.  That instead of seeing what they looked like when they were 5 years old, they'll remember the joy of childhood.  How it felt to run on a slip-n-slide. That they'll remember the long days and the cool nights and the cameraderie with their cousins on vacation (and not just the tourist sites that they visited).   And that by looking at a photo of herself playing softball...she'll remember how scary it was to be behind the plate, but she did it anyway. 

everyday life.jpg
9&u softball

I've decided to go into business simply because I love photography and I love capturing real life in a way that will tell a story 20 years from now.  The story won't be about what trends were popular in photography (props, poses, certain locations - my mom mentioned that she vividly remembers a studio photographer posing my sister with an umbrella and thinking that was ridiculous)...but rather the story will be about who you are, how you spent your days, and what your surroundings looked like.  

All that being said, I do tend a little more toward a lifestyle approach than a true documentary style.  After all, I will only be spending a few hours with a family instead of days or weeks.  I might plan some activities and direct some things to happen a certain way.  And I'm going to portray your story in the best light possible, even if real life kind of suggests otherwise.  

I know that many of you still love portraits and they are perfect for Christmas cards.  So I promise to give you photos like this....

large family portrait

...as long as you also let me take some photos like this.

document the everyday

It's your family story...and it matters.  You may think it's uneventful or even boring, but 15 years from now, you'll want to remember how it felt to live in this exact moment in time.