This is a very personal sentiment that I want to share, in the hope that the basic idea of it will inspire someone else. This past year has been a bit different for me, in that I’ve had some difficult ideas of my own that I’ve had to spend time thinking about and dealing with.
My mom (my friend and confidant and all-around role model) hasn’t been doing so well with her health, and I am reminded, all too often these days, how fragile a life can be. We had a big health scare and realized, or perhaps, admitted, that there is always a chance that she won’t live as long as we all hope. That, perhaps, none of us will. I write this with a heavy heart, but one that is lightened by the idea that resulted.
In dealing with this idea, and seeing my mom’s health diminish, I found myself going through photos of her on my computer, the one’s I had bothered to save in a folder on my desktop called “Family”. There were so few. Most didn’t capture who she really is. And that was when I realized one very important thing:
I don’t want to lose her and realize that I never got a great photograph of her.
I don’t want to lose anyone close to me and feel that way. And so I started a new photo series called “Before They Pass” in which I am photographing the people closest to me in ways that, I feel, represent who they are before they are no longer with me. I am doing this for myself and for them, to give a picture that everyone feels represents something about their life.
I am putting them in my photographic world in a way that creates a character out of their persona and life. In so many ways, we are all characters and can be spelled out in so many pixels, and I am taking that inspiration and running with it. We know those who we are closest to best, and so to have the creativity to turn someone into art, to immortalize them, is priceless. There’s no telling if my images will succeed at such a high level, but worst thing I could do is not try. The worst I can do is lose the opportunity altogether.
So far I have photographed my mom and my sister, and once my dad agrees (he’s putting up a good fight), I’ll add to the collection. I think I’ll be making a special trip home to do more shooting for this series. I thought about postponing the shoots until I had to be home for work…but then again, time moves so quickly, and you never know.
Always take time to honor those who are closest to you. Take a moment to capture a photograph or two and share it with them. Make sure that the people who should be remembered in your life are remembered. And remember to love, always.