I love digital cameras, I really do. I like the freedom of trying a million different shots and keeping the one that works. I like giving the camera to my kids, seeing what the world looks like from their perspective.
But there are a few downsides to this digital ease. For one, my computer has become an overcrowded photographic refugee camp. ‘I haven’t given up on you,’ I promise all those thousands and thousands of snapshots. ‘I’m just busy finding the perfect frame, the perfect spot on the wall, the perfect amount of time where I have four contiguous hours to sift through thousands of photos on my hard drive until I find the lucky few that will find amnesty in the printer.’ I know they are losing faith in me, don’t think I can’t feel their derision and hopelessness emanating from inside the monitor.
Then there is the fact that a camera can be pulled on you anywhere, any time. This means that there are a plethora of pictures of me reprimanding my kids, eating a chili-dog, or most recently, slumped over in my bikini, drink in hand while my gut does its impression of a pot-bellied pig. (Thanks for that, my husband, I love you too.)
My point here is that when it comes to photography, sometimes it’s worth it to put yourself in the hands of a professional who will not only put you in your best light, but will also hand you nicely printed photos that will not be sentenced to the purgatory that is the computer hard drive.
My friend Shauna Lofy is a photographer and is adding portraiture to her repertoire. What she wants to do is to focus on portraits of women. Not women in family shots or women on their wedding day or women on Christmas cards, but photos of women themselves. She wants to capture them in time. ‘Here you are at 25.’ ‘Here you are at 35, 45, 55, 65’.
It’s an interesting idea isn’t it? To capture the passage of time. To find something to celebrate in each decade. To help a person see the beauty in her own changing face.
I think of those women Shauna will photograph over the course of her career whose portraits will be guarded in albums and behind frames. Generations from now their great-great granddaughters will study them, peering at the faces captured in time, separated momentarily from the milieu of family life.
I like to imagine that future great-great granddaughter will feel a connection that transcends the generations and years as she looks for shapes and shadows of her own face in that carefully captured moment.