Sunday, July 14, 2013

FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS

Backyard Astronaut in1994 taken with a Nikon N90 shot on Ilford HP5 Plus. I barely remember taking this photograph, but it has become one of my favorites.
Backyard Astronaut in1994 taken with a Nikon N90 shot on Ilford HP5 Plus. I barely remember taking this photograph, but it has become one of my favorites.
A coworker recently commented that I must have a ton of great photographs of my family, especially my son growing up. I started to wonder if that was true. Did I really document my family the same way that I photographed assignments around the world or even in my own backyard?

Nikon FM2 shot on Kodak Tri-X. There was a time when my family would not run or cover their faces when I pulled out the camera.
Nikon FM2 shot on Kodak Plus-X. There was a time when my family would not run or cover their faces when I pulled out the camera.
If you ask my family I think they would say that I didn't photograph enough. I would counter that they just didn't always see the final results. This became apparent to me recently when I was digging under the eaves in search of some old darkroom equipment for a pinhole photography project and came across dozens of boxes and binders full of negatives and slides.
WARNING: Don't go digging out those old slides and negatives unless you have hours to spare, because once you start going down memory lane, it's a long journey.
I also tried to rationalize that when the family is talking about missing photos, most often they are referring to formal portraits. And it is true that at some point my family just wasn't going to sit for portraits as I tested new lighting or posing techniques. Plus, I figured that I always had an out since there was the school pictures that documented each year thus leaving me with the much more prestigious job of documenting everyday life.

Scotland Vacation in 2004 taken with a Nikon D2H. Found this file on a CD-ROM backup.
Scotland Vacation in 2004 taken with a Nikon D2H. Found this file on a CD-ROM backup.
So looking back, how did I do?

Well for the answer to that question I'll refer to all those negatives and slides. Apparently I took more photos than I realized of my family and have taken great delight in converting them to digital and sharing, many for the first time. (Learn how I convert negatives and slides to digital files in my post, GRAB A LOUPE - A NEW YEAR WITH OLD NEGS). I also pulled out that collection of CD-ROMs that were at one time my digital backups, but over time and after some hard drive failures, had apparently become the primary files. Another word of caution, get those photos off those disks and back on hard drives with another copy in the cloud.

College Graduation 2013 with a  Nikon D3S. One of two frames I was able to get before I was told that was enough. Some things never change.
College Graduation in 2013 taken with a  Nikon D3S. One of two frames I was able to grab before I was told that was enough. Some things never change.
If your family is giving you grief about not photographing enough of... well the family, ask yourself if perhaps what they are really asking is to just see the results. I'm not talking about sharing what's on the back of your camera, handing them your cell phone or even what's plastered all over social media. I'm talking about making a print, putting it in a frame and hanging it on a wall or placing it on a table. Or if you are really ready to share, then why not upload your files to a service that will make 4x6 inch prints for under 15 cents each that you can then put in an album. Remember those.

That's what memories are made of. Or what memories can still be made of.
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