Turn Your Camera Around
For a Change
father died in December and it was a wonderful death. He was surrounded
by his family, free of pain and passed away peacefully. It made me happy
that over the last few years I'd been a pain-in-the-ass by insisting
on taking his picture many times. I didn't do it nearly enough but at
least I did it.
I took pictures of him alone, with the family and with his grandchildren.
When he came to town and we took my daughter somewhere I brought a camera
and shots some pictures. There was usually a little glint of "Why
are you doing that?" in his eyes, even though he always gave in
and let me set up a shot. Every once in a while I'd even put up some
lights and do a portrait of him, even though he didn't like all the
hoop-la. I'm glad I did it.
Photographers usually spend their days taking pictures OF other people
FOR other people. There are bills to pay, clients to satisfy, editors
that always want frame 38 and sometimes at the end of the week the last
thing you want to do is take more pictures.
Your family might gather for a Thanksgiving dinner, a Labor Day picnic
or a High School graduation, but getting the camera OUT of the bag and
putting ON a lens and LOADING the film and ATTACHING the flash and TAKING
a light reading and GETTING people to pose and TAKING the film in for
processing and PUTTING the prints somewhere safe just seems to be so...
darn.... exhausting. Then there's the fact that photographers usually
hate having their own pictures taken.
We know the damage a wide-angle lens can do so we often shy away when
the cousin with his point-and-shoot wants "Just one of you and
Sometimes the family of a photographer has the fewest pictures. The
wife, the kids, the parents all think; "He's the photographer.
If he doesn't think this is worth taking a picture of who am I to question?"
"He'll get annoyed if I ask him to take a picture of Dad, he's
been busy all week." "He works a lot of weekends so I'll just
leave him alone." Or even, "He such a good photographer that
my pictures will look lousy by comparison."
That's a shame.
Turn your camera around once in a while and include yourself in for
a change. Be a pain-in-the-ass by gathering the family and posing them
around the Christmas tree. Put your Canon EOS with 17-35mm lens on "Program,"
hand it off to an in-law and get INTO a photo, it'll probably turn out
okay. Make a permanent record that will survive you. Take pictures of
your parents, your grand-parents, your kids and the cousins. Everybody
will love to have some pictures taken by the family's "real"
photographer and some day your kids will look back and silently thank