Take a moment to think of your greatest memories. Think of the time spent (recent or in the past) with your favorite people: your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your favorite Aunt, your bestie, your spouse, your Grandma, your Papa, your oldest cousin that you never got to see as often as you’d like, your son, your daughter, your mentor or coach, the neighbor you grew up living next to, or even your pet. No seriously, grab a pen and paper and list 5-10 of those people.
Now, jot down 3 favorite memories next to each person on your special people list. It will be a challenge to think on the spot, but JUST DO IT. This doesn’t have to be done in 5 minutes; dig deep and marinate in your memory bank.
My own dare
Have you started writing yet? If you did, GOOD JOB! If not, that is ok, it is hard to not be tempted to keep reading. Let me give you a little nudge. Quite often your memories are of little bits of time. Most of the time we are reminded of the memory because of a certain smell, photo, song, or time of year. Sometimes being forced to think of a memory under pressure can be an impossible task, but just for the moment, play along and dip your toes into your memory bank. You can always return at a later time when you have some quiet time and some warm tea/wine, music and your journal by your side.
I have a list far too long of special people in my world to share, so here is just a brief 5 that I hope fuels your memory search.
My Husband: The day of my brothers wedding, our overnight stay at Old Northern Inn in Coolin Idaho, Our trip to the coast, and the day he asked me to marry him.
My Great Grandmother: How we would watch ice skating together, the wig she always wore, her molasses cookies and chicken noodle soup.
My Best Friend: I could always count on her to get us into some kind of mischief, how envious I was of her beauty- blue eye and red hair, and how we used to run together to McDonalds to loose weight only to get there to eat ice cream and burgers.
My Aunt: Her red nail polish, sitting in her Mary Kay office playing with all the products, her laugh and her taking me, my brother and cousin to the beach to make drizzle castles.
My Brother: Just thinking about my brother brings a smile to my face. I have memories of me making him dance with me and playing dress up– he never really had a choice. He always knew had to make me laugh – still till this day, just thinking of him makes me smile. He used to do this terrible little brother thing to me where he would take his hand and smash it to my face and yell “NOSE JOB”!
awww that was fun and I don’t know about you but not only is my heart happy, I have a big smile on my face.
The list Becomes the vision
So now that you have your list of people and memories, how do you feel? Pretty darn good? You have this sense of accomplishment and love for all you’ve achieved with this person and your time shared. These details have made your relationship with them what it is today. You may feel a bit like, “I wish I could go back in time” or “I hope this stage never ends.” You may feel gratitude or joy.
Now let’s take those feelings and push the nostalgic envelope. Do you have an old box of photos? (Who doesn’t?) This list would have been super easy to create had you opened the box before you made your list. When you look at those old photos, it doesn’t matter if they are “technically correct” (whatever that means, anyway). When you look at them, all your brain sees are the memories. These photos are an heirloom piece.
Only the items on my list in green text above are memories I have photos of. I think it’s an interesting timeline of those memories from my childhood (no photos) and those that I take now primarily since I’m now a mom and photographer. These moments certainly would be more powerful had a photographer tagged along for bits and pieces of my life and the images that I do have technically perfect or not – are precious to me.
Go back to your list. How many items on that list don’t you have photos for? the list items you do NOT have photos for are at risk of being forgotten. Maybe not today, but eventually. You probably won’t forget the big things, like your child’s birth. However, the retelling of those stories will likely end with you. Life is composed of small details that shape us and our relationships. Too often, we don’t even recognize these details while knee-deep in life, let alone photograph them. We look back at the good ‘ol days and often want more. Photographs are a way to celebrate those memories and be a little closer to having that “just one more.”
Oh how I cherish looking at my memories of those small details. How blessed I am to look at a photo and get flooded with senses that can bring my back to that certain memory. The details of a dress I wore as a little girl, a song that played in the background, the way the tile felt on my feet, or even the smell of the grass on a summer evening.
Now I DARE you to take just one of the items on your list and turn it into your next photo session. Don’t do the session for me or with cost of invest hanging over your head. Do it for you . . . for the sake of your own memories. Your life matters! So do your stories.
How do I plan a shoot this way?
Envision the memory-in-the-making as it happens. What does it look like? Who is doing what? What are all the feels felt? The smells? The light? The environment?
Use your list to inspire the ability to visually express things like, This is where we met. This is how we used to spend our summers. Your mom was so hard to get to sleep through the night, and this is the chair I sat in night after night rocking her to sleep. This is what your great-grandfather did every Saturday.
So, Truth or Dare time…
Dare – make the list.
Truth – Are you neglecting to create (or hire a photographer to create) the photos that tell a story? One more thing: this style is absolutely not limited to children and families. You can document the story of anyone – engagements, seniors and teens, A-N-Y-O-N-E. If you need some help in getting your story shared, feel free to contact me and we can talk about your memories you would like to capture.
Comment below or send me an email. I’m listening and dying to know your thoughts.