The above picture is my Dad’s Hasselblad. Fantastic camera to say the absolute least. Do you know why this camera was even invented? Think of it: there are literally hundreds of individually engineered parts and thousands of man-hours that all equal this one particular camera. There were plenty of cameras in the marketplace before it was introduced, so why bother? Frankly, plenty of money could be made off volume sales of less intricate machines. It is not the money. It is this: Since the dawn of time, mankind has been searching for the perfect way to create a lasting memory. Time flies and if we do not make an effort to hold on to at least a few moments, then life will fly by too. Welcome to today’s post. Thank you for coming, and please click through to continue and share your thoughts. ; )
Okay you are here! : ) I hope you are reading this somewhere comfortable and have good shoes on (or off- better!).
Recently I have given some serious thought to photography, my desire to create art and the bigger question of why. What I have come up with is neatly summarized in the title paragraph, but it would be a disservice if I did not try to elaborate just a wee bit more.
For the first half of the year, my full time job has been with a regular schedule that allowed me to have ample time during the day to work on the house, work on my photography, work on my body with countless cycling miles and live the dream Matil and I have achieved over the last few years. The second half of this year has been met with a varied work schedule which leaves no time for any of the aforementioned. In fact, right now I had to move some things around in order to finally sit down and write this post. For the first half of the year, time was not a major concern of mine. For the second half of the year- I schedule everything in my day down to the minute. I am sure many of you feel the same way.
Well, time is why photography is so interesting to me. Cameras take pictures at fractions of a second. Let’s just use the example of 1/250th of a second. That is how fast it takes the picture- but let us look at it another way. Life is in motion, there is no denying that. Everything about us and around us is in motion. Because it is in motion, there is no pause, rewind, or retakes. Once we reach Act II, Act I is gone forever. All this holds true with the one exception in that art allows us to relive and re-experience life while we are still in forward motion at ludicrous speed. And it is so damn important to DO THAT!
1/250th of a second. Matil was in forward motion when I took her portrait here, and she is still in forward motion today- having lived countless experiences and moments since I took this portrait just a few weeks ago. 1/250th of a second. That means that if you subdivide time all the way down to two hundred and fifty unique measurable points within each second of each minute of each hour… I took just ONE of those microscopic elements and I froze it. I made time hold still. I found the pause button. I said STOP! I decided that I WANT this microscopic element of time, and I want to hold onto it forever. I decided that I saw something here with Matil, I wanted to hold onto it like some kind of evidence it and I wanted to share it with you and the entire world. And… art is very important to me so I want to showcase this element of time in the very best way I know how. Maybe not the best there ever was, but it is always the best I can do.
Isn’t this worth holding onto? It certainly is for me. This was taken Christmas, 2011. Taken. That word was selected on purpose: I took this frame, this slice, this microscopic element of time and held it for myself and now all of you. Every time I look at this portrait, I am back to where I was that day and it allows me to relive that period of time all over again- while I am sitting here in the now-distant future writing about it. Interesting? I think so. I think it is amazing, actually.
We should all have these permanent records of moments in our lives. It is so important to write our own history books, because frankly for most of us nobody else will bother to record it for us. In that regard, many of us already are creating digital memories with smartphones and social media. I think it is wonderful and also partake as many of you are aware. Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Instagram. We take instants of time and share them instantly with as little or as much of the world as we like.
I think it is important to expand on this a little bit, though. I have criticized some people in the past because they constantly post the cellphone-in-mirror selfie or the sitting-in-car selfie. I did so because of the quality and long-term sustainability of these types of photographs. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I have a defense for my criticism. Selfie pics in the bathroom or car are akin to wearing jeans and a shirt. Sometimes it is really nice jeans and a great shirt but to be frank- still jeans and a shirt. In modern times, jeans and a shirt when done right will get us through most occasions. Maybe not a wedding though- even if you are just attending as a guest. It might not be appropriate at most job interviews, either. Come to think of it, jeans might not work when you go to bed or swim in the Atlantic, either.
So my proposition about the jeans is this: Wear them. Wear them OUT! Enjoy them. Tell everyone you have them. But.. keep a suit or evening dress just in case. Also- bathing suits are appropriate for certain occasions too. So selfie away with your iPhone. They are the most popular cameras the world has ever known for a really great reason- but they are not a suit. You never saw Steve Jobs in a suit, either. We all need a suit (or dress). We all need full resolution portraits taken with capable cameras that will provide us with future-proof pictures of ourselves, our families, our moments and our histories.
We all are full of countless moments that should be remembered forever. It will be such a shame to live an entire life and be left in a house with walls and albums devoid of portraits of our history.
Isn’t this worth remembering? This little girl is bigger now. And in ten years time… Wow, she will be a all grown up! But this fraction of a second. This sliver. This moment. It is worth remembering. This Dad must look at this portrait and smile at the memory of the ice cold day he went to the beach with me and allowed me to take “a couple quick snapshots.” That certainly was worth it, right? Yes this could have been done with an iPhone BUT the result here is a portrait taken with a camera and technique of sufficient quality and permanency that it does not have to eternally reside on a telephone or somewhere on a hard drive. It can reside in those places… but better yet it can also be a 16″ x 20″ masterpiece hanging on the wall if they so choose. It can be in a 5″ x 7″ frame sitting on Mom’s desk at work… if they so choose. The point is that it seems unlikely that kids and grandkids will scroll through your iPhone in twenty or thirty years from now to see those digital “albums.” (How often do YOU go through the camera album on the phone and reminisce with loved ones?) But a printed book on a table… a family portrait framed in the living room or hallway… those are noticed. Constantly. And they are relived. Constantly.
This family portrait is also another speck of a second that I froze in time for a great family and some of the proudest new parents I know. In thirty or forty years- can you imagine how many times this moment will be relived by them? Enjoyed? Loved? Can you imagine how many times they will tell their daughter how beautiful she is and always has been? With all the stress that life inevitably brings- doesn’t this frozen moment bring some calm back into the foreground?
So that’s it… I wish for all of you to take a little time to consider what physical memories you have of yourself and your family. If you are doing great, then GREAT! If your house is wallpapered in framed family portraits then you are AWESOME! You obviously get it! However, if you don’t have any portraits then I strongly consider having some taken. They truly are beautiful gifts in so many ways and levels. You don’t have to call on me to take them. There are passionate photographers everywhere; however, if you are local to New York Greatest City on Earth, then I would be honored if you sent me a message. : )
How much? Cheap. This is not my full time job. I am not interested in taking your rent. I can afford my own hobby. I just ask something for my time.
Do you want to learn to take your own family portraits because it would be too expensive to have me on retainer for every family function and event from now until kingdom come? Call on me. I. Love. To. Teach. Here are a couple references:
Each of these artists are true artists. They came to me already having ideas and visions, but needed a little technical know-how in order to get going. I did not teach them everything they know, I merely helped them with a foundation that they have built upon admirably. From there the sky is the limit but more importantly: if this talent is their professional work, then you can rest assured their kids are going to have GREAT pictures of their own childhood to look back upon in years to come.
Think about it. : )