Unlike most Reflections' posts, I went to sleep last night knowing exactly what I wanted to write about this morning.
My mother died of Alzheimer's almost five years ago and tomorrow would be her 92nd birthday. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease. It's like a burglar breaking into your home, robbing you of a loved one. There's no police report to file and no hope of ever getting your possessions returned. Little by little, over seven years with Mom's battle, we watched her disappear a bit more each day.
But my purpose in writing about this today isn't to relive the pain, but some pretty special moments.
First is the importance photography played in losing Mom. Dad passed away two years later, but thanks to photographs the smiles live on. The contemporary images in this post are all thanks to Bambi Cantrell spending most of a day with my folks. It was just before the Alzheimer's truly took hold. She captured the love they had for each other, and with each photograph, I can "hear" Mom's smile.
And there's my first point this morning - NEVER compromise on the quality of an image! Being a photographer is a huge responsibility. Your clients are putting all their trust in you to capture images that are more than photographs! Even the most routine series of images, depending on the situation, can become a cornerstone of invaluable memories.
My second point is to remind you that in dealing with Alzheimer's, you're never alone. So many of you are dealing with it now or may be in the near future. There were some things that helped us through the storms a lot.
Going through old photographs like this, Mom remembered every detail. Yes, they're all me - a month old to two to four!
And that brings me full circle to the fun of this morning's post. Photographs keep us in touch with our most special memories. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss my folks, but my very best memories are reinforced thanks to the industry we're all a part of. Even the battle with Alzheimer's had moments that were easier to handle thanks to photography.
Wishing all of you a beautiful Sunday and a day filled with memory-making. If you're a photographer, think about the things you should do to make your skill set the very best it can be. There's no room for lack of quality in your work and mediocrity is a dirty word! Go for those eleven-second hugs and remind the people you love the most how vital they are in your life.
Happy Sunday and Happy Birthday Mom - sure do love ya!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.