A year ago, actually tomorrow on Halloween, my Dad celebrated his 93rd birthday. We all had dinner together and then wandered out behind his building to watch the sunset. I remember giving him a hug goodnight as we left him and his caregiver, Joan, by the water. There was this look on his face and sparkle of satisfaction in his eyes. It was almost as if he was doing an inventory of his life. He had this smug little smile as if he knew something the rest of us didn't. Dad was back in the hospital the next day and would pass away a week and a half later.
So, here's where I'm going this morning - I mostly shot "neuro-chromes" on that birthday, with the one exception to the right. It's a selfie of all of us together before heading out to watch the sunset. However, I have a collection of images from so many different times over the years.
Which finally gets me to my point - there's so much, as professional photographers, so many of you take for granted. You provide the world with the ability to create tangible memories and go beyond neuro-chromes. Your work keeps us alive because you can't appreciate where you are in life without remembering where you've been.
I guess this morning's post is a combination of a beating and a "thanks!" The beating goes to those of you who take shortcuts and don't give clients the very best of your abilities. Stop being part of the "that's good enough" crowd and remember the power and importance of the magic you bring to so many lives. Stop thinking the bottom line of your business is more important than the potential value you create every time you click the shutter. And, remember, if you're in a rut and not happy with your work - then fix your skill set. You can't create images that tug at people's heartstrings if your own heart isn't in them!
The "thanks" side of this post goes to every one of you who share the pride of being part of this amazing industry and never slow down. You hang in there waiting for the decisive moment and that twinkle, smile, tear or expression that makes you the best at preserving and protecting memories. You're the ones who never stop learning and push the edge of the creative envelope every day. You know and understand the responsibility you have to every client with each new frame of somebody's life you capture.
The image above is all thanks to one of my special buddies, Bob Coates, who two years ago captured a shot of Dad and me for an ad the Friendship Centers were putting together here in Sarasota. Bob and his wife Holly came to Sarasota on Vacation for a few weeks each year, and at some point, like great friends often do, they became family. Bob caught exactly what the Friendship Centers wanted for an upcoming ad, which was a testimonial by me, talking about how much Dad and I appreciated their support through the Senior Centers, the Caregiver Support Group, etc.
So, there you have it - a Sunday morning where I want to remind you of how important you are in so many lives, mine included. If you don't wake up every morning thankful of the career path you're on as a photographer, then step back and take some time off. No career field, with the exception of modern medicine, has given the world what you do when that camera is in your hands!
My relationship with my folks is alive and well, even if they're no longer a phone call away. It's all thanks to the photographs I have that keep the memories and stories so much alive. I miss them a lot, but looking back at the life they gave me, there are far more smiles than tears.
Wishing you all an outstanding Sunday and one filled with remarkable memories, whether captured on a chip, film or neuro-chrome. Stay on point with at least one eleven-second hug with somebody special in your life and remember the value of what you give the world with every click of the shutter.
Happy Sunday everybody!