I've started and deleted this post a dozen times because words simply escape me. I wrote about the importance of taking pictures after my Papa passed away but I felt the need to say it again.
A little over a week ago while at a birthday party for a firefighter Chris works with we got the call that another member of their crew had suddenly passed away at the young age of 30. He leaves behind a girlfriend who we all knew would someday be his wife and over a hundred brothers and sisters within the fire department. Throughout the week that would follow I saw more strength, support, honor and tradition than some people witness in a lifetime. The fire department gives new meaning to the word family and I could not be more proud to be a fireman's wife.
Just three short days later I also received word that a client and friend had lost her 37 year old husband unexpectedly. She and her incredible husband have two beautiful daughters and another child on the way. While I didn't know him well, he is the kind of man you never forget and I feel honored to have known him at all. Jodie, you're on my mind and in my prayers. The world is a better place because of Thor.
Photographs were such an important part of both of these funerals. A photo can instantly take you back to a time and place where you couldn't otherwise go. They keep our memories fresh and allow us to relive the special moments in our lives. They tell a story – not just of what someone did or where they went, but of who they were. I've said it before and I'll say it again. They don't have to be perfect. They don't have to be professional. Just take pictures. And take them often. Someday they may be all you have.
As a photographer we often take for granted what our images mean to our clients. Day in, day out we go through the motions of doing our job, sometimes forgetting the effect our work can have on a family, especially in times of tragedy. It's a big reminder to all of us photographers to never take for granted how lucky we are to do what we do.
I will hug my loved ones a little tighter today and hope you'll do the same.