Why Photography Is Important To Me

This is going to get personal. Way personal. This post has been rattling around in my head for days.

There are as many reasons to love photography as there are photographs in this world. It’s a very personal thing. Art is like that. Memories are like that. A person can even love a photograph for more than one reason.

I love this photograph because I was having a good hair day, and I love that dress, and I love the way the light fills up the elevator, and we both looked pretty good. But the biggest reason that I love it? Because it takes me right back to that moment, and I remember.  I remember that this was our last night in London, so we left our backpacks at our sweet apartment (that we paid $2.63 to stay at because we used reward points!) and went back to the Thames (through the semi spooky tunnel)  to have dinner and enjoy ourselves without ALL the gear. I remember that the weather was perfect and we stopped at this cute little beer garden on our way back so that J could have his last real Guinness of the trip. And I remember how blissfully and completely happy I was that I got to spend almost three weeks traveling around Europe with the love of my life. That’s what I see when I look at this photo.

Last August, when I was visiting home for a week in Ohio, I made a conscious effort to photograph the people I love. Now, they will tell you that I ALWAYS photograph them, but I wanted to show them what I do and have real photo sessions. I didn’t get to have photo sessions with everyone, but I did make super sure that I got to do one with my Grandma Betty, and my parents.

Grandma was great. She was up for whatever I suggested. Whether it was out by her beautiful flowers, sitting on her old front porch, or standing in the middle of a lane in front of the corn and the bright blue sky, she was game. Being at the young end of the grandchild spectrum, I was always able to talk her into playing along with my crazy schemes.

We had a wonderful time, even though I’m pretty sure I wore her out. But honestly, she’s taken that afternoon nap for about as long as I can remember. 😉 I was sooo glad that I made the time and we did this. Of course, I have been very slow to show off all of the photos, but they are here and I have them to share with my whole family. Thanks to a friend’s post, I also made a point to take photos of all the things that I love about her and Grandpa’s house. The photos on the wall, her mirror in the bathroom that has seen better days, her beautiful earrings, and just how the light comes through her house.

About a week after I was home and took these photos, Grandma fell and ended up in the hospital and then a short (she made sure of it) stay rehabilitating in a nursing home. She was recuperating for awhile but always did her exercises, and complained with a passion about the bland boring food at the nursing home. She had to spend her 90th birthday in there, which isn’t fun for anyone. We talked about busting her out for a party, but thought that we could have a bigger one when she got out. She got to go back to her house and thanks to the wonderful blessing of in-home care, she got to continue to live at home while she worked at healing and getting better. She was still the same Grandma, but ever since that fall, she just couldn’t move like she did before and slowly over the course of the year got weaker.

She was very much herself the whole time, always independent and a DIY pioneer, but she passed away on Thursday Aug 4th at her home. The Dude and I made his maiden airplane voyage on Wednesday and they got to meet each other and we got to say goodbye. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through this post without crying. Anyhow…

I am sooo thankful that I took these pictures. These memories will always be with me and can be shared with everyone. These pictures of her house and her things were taken when all was well and she was laughing at me saying “Now why do you want to take a picture of that?!” That is the memory I get to keep.

To me, photography gives us the power to save Right Now. We cannot go back and photograph the past. All we can do is save these moments right now, for later. No thing has been more healing and precious to me in this last week than my pictures of Grandma, and all the photos she and Grandpa kept in their albums of their lives and family. They are priceless.

That is why regardless of what I do for a living, I will always be taking photos of the ones I love being together, enjoying each other and of course, rolling their eyes at me. The moments may seem small now, but someday they will be worth everything.

And that is why photography is important to me.

So when that little voice in your head whispers to you, “I want to remember this,” take a picture. Use your point and shoot, your phone, your fancy schmancy what-does-this-button-do camera if you have to, but take the picture. Your friends and family may roll their eyes at you for the hundredth time, but someday, they will thank you.

It is always worth it.

  • Christy - Beautiful Karyn. Simply Beautiful. On every account.

  • auntie n - Oh Karyn — !!!!!!

  • Katie in MA - Goodness. I have tears leaking down my cheeks now, too, but it’s okay – almost time to go home anyway.

    Your post struck such a chord with me. I look back at pictures I have of my mom – ones I just took with a point-and-click, but beautiful to me for the same reasons you discussed. Mom when she was more mobile. Mom baking at the kitchen table like she did a million times. Talking on the phone with her sister. Standing at the radiator in the kitchen. Ordinary, everyday things that are just so “mom-like” to me. And things she can’t do now with her Parkinson’s so advanced.

    I’m sorry your grandma passed. I’m so glad she got to meet The Dude. I’m glad that you had the presence of mind to take pics of her and to let her know that you loved her, and that she meant enough to celebrate with those pics. I can imagine how much you miss her.

    Sending you thoughts of happiness and peace…

  • brenda frantom - Well…these brought the tears….what a wonderful day that was last August, with you and Grandma.

  • Catie Ronquillo - Beautiful! Makes me want to go document my loved ones too. Glad The Dude was able to meet your grandma. Glad that you’ll always have these photos to cherish!

  • kaley - amazing. i would do anything to have images like these of my grandmother.

  • Karla - Karyn –

    I was just taking a minute to scroll through some of your old blogs. I read this months ago… and 6 months later, it brings me to tears again. I will take back (for now) all of my eye rolling and the… he hem… not so appropriately posed photos you have aquired over the years on the multiple bus trips we have taken together. Thank you for documenting our childhood, and continuing to document the amazing moments in your life so you don’t seem so far away!!! I’m pretty psyched we still get to be friends after the days at Emerson (just not alway so psyched that we have to do it from so far away).

    Love you!!! And Happy Birthday to The Dude!

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