The value of a photograph

This morning my first born was flipping through our Chatbooks (highly recommend these, friends!) while I was hustling to clean up the wreckage her little brother had left for me in the 30 minutes he'd been awake.  "Who is this mommy?"

I walked over to her and saw the face of a man I miss so often.  Taylor's Uncle Robbie.  I knew that my extremely inquisitive daughter was about to dive into deep waters and I quickly tried to shift from "to-do list" mode to "savor this moment" mode and sat down with her.  Explaining cancer and death and heaven- it's all so much.  She's three.  I don't want to lie to her- and yet I don't want to burden her. 

As we talked about him I thought of the few photographs I have of him and her together.  She was almost two when he passed away.  And my mind wandered to this idea- of the value a photograph holds.  

There's a photograph next to my side of the bed of my great grandmother & great grandfather.  It was their engagement photo.  And even though I've never met them- each day I wear a piece of her because her engagement ring now sits on my finger- even as I type these words.  It's special to have her ring- but even moreso to have a picture of her and to know the shape of her face.  To "see" her. 

This past week a devastating event took place here in Indianapolis.  One that has rocked my world.  A young mother was shot in her own home during a break in.  The following day she entered Heaven's gates.  She was 12 weeks pregnant, and left behind a tiny son and loving husband.  A friend of mine was one of her dearest friends and my heart is just broken for everyone who knew & loved this woman.  All over my Facebook feed I see her picture popping up.  Pictures of her on her wedding day.  Pictures of her laughing with her dear friends.  Of her holding her son.  Of her vacationing with her husband.  These pictures hold value that is indescribable in the wake of her leaving this earth.  

When lifestyle photography was taking off almost a decade ago I remember seeing photographers listing their prices underneath "investment" tabs and it rubbed me the wrong way. I was irritated because I'd see a price that was in no way affordable for me or anyone I knew and the word "investment" almost felt like an insult.  I concluded that because I didn't have thousands of dollars to spend on photographs with so & so photographer that they were implying I wasn't serious about preserving memories.  Since then I've gotten over it, and I understand why it's presented that way.  I think.  I think what people are trying to communicate is that photographs are an investment worth making.  

Whether or not you have thousands of dollars or mere pennies- photography has never been more accessible than it is now.  This is in no way a plug for my photography business- but for photography in general.  No matter who or what form it takes for you.  My encouragement is keep on snapping away.  It matters.  Get in the picture.  Print them off.  Treasure them and the memories they preserve for you & your loved ones.