A few days ago Brian & I watched a special television presentation aimed at raising funds for victims of the recent devastation on the East coast brought on by Hurricane Sandy. Well known actors like Whoppi Goldberg and Kevin Bacon, along with many music artists including Christina Aguilara and Sting came together and donated their time and talent toward this effort. Between performances, video clips were shared – interviews of those who have been hit hard by this disaster. One such interview was particularly touching for me. A woman in her 60’s, retired, was standing in a field of debris that used to be her home. She was picking through the rubble, searching. Not for her favorite shoes or jewelry, but for photographs. Her memories.
As photographers we offer a valuable gift. More precious than the roof over our heads. We document life – proof that we are here, we elevate the ordinary – shining light on each precious day. We preserve the memories that loved ones are willing to scour the ruins for. Ours is a sacred calling that we must not shy away from. If you are drawn to take pictures, you must do it.
You may have family members who say they don’t want their pictures taken.
Don’t let any of that discourage you. Keep taking those pictures. One day when circumstances cause the importance of material things to fall away, people will rummage through the debris in search of those precious memories you have preserved.
If you are able, please donate to the Red Cross to help those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.
If you would like to read more about photographing your life, here are two books I recommend highly:
Written by Tracey Clark
Written by Stephanie Calebrese Roberts