Photography has been something I’ve enjoyed my entire life. From getting my first film camera when I was not even a teenager, to madly scrapbooking every special moment and those random ones in between – I’ve been obsessed with capturing and documenting these memories.
But why do I do what I do?
To say I was sentimental growing up was probably an understatement. I once kept a stone that sat in my shoe from a fun day at the Melbourne Show with my family! So I’m not kidding! I cried and cried when my family changed kitchens as a kid; so much so that my dad kept the wooden post that held up the cupboards as a keepsake for me (which many years later, my husband lovingly restored and turned into a potplant stand for me).
I’ve moved on (a bit) from those early days, and no longer feel the need to keep every stone. But what remains is the love to capture the moments of our lives.
When my father first became ill when I was 8 years old, and then finally losing him to cancer 10 years later, and in the years that followed, I often searched for reminders of him and of us together. Those photographs I took in the early days became precious moments in time. It became clear that those photographs were more important to me than anything else I owned.
I think losing a parent at a young age tends to do things to you – different things to different people. For me, now 25 years later, as a parent myself, I often think about losing my Dad and hope that my own kids don’t need to go through that for a long time. And that gets me thinking about what they will find of me, my husband, their childhood, when that time does come and they go searching.
So I try to keep notes. And I try to take as many photos as I can.
Recently my sister shared this small grainy old photograph with us - of my Mum and Dad in our little above ground pool in our small country backyard. I stared at it for days and saved it on my phone to keep looking at. I'd forgotten she had it. It instantly took me back and I could once again feel the relationship my Mum and Dad had - they were always stirring each other up. They worked hard, but they also laughed. It made me sad, it made me smile - it just made me feel.
It’s a big part of why I now do what I do. I’ll always have that need and desire to help people, and we are all capable of helping in different ways. And to create for people portraits that I know they will cherish forever, and that future generations will continue to look back upon, absolutely fills that need.
I want everyone to enjoy their portraits throughout their lives. Portraits that take them back to times gone by and remember what it felt like in that moment, at that age, with the people they loved. Like I look back at dorky photographs I have of me at 16 years of age, standing next to my Dad, towel in hand about to jump on a boat ride, remembering that I felt so happy. I see his cheeky grin and it starts conversations with my own children about what he was like. Or the single portrait I have of my mother holding me as newborn, marveling at the thought that she was younger than I am now and had 4 kids.
And I want them to have portraits for their children. I always politely insist on parents having photographs taken with their children even if that wasn’t their initial intention – because I know, that’s the one thing their children will be searching for in years to come. I know that kid, because that kid was me.
This is why I do what I do.
Absolutely I do it for my clients and their children. But in many ways I do it for myself. I love how photographs make me feel. It’s a reminder of what has been, and what may still be. Life will keep evolving, and we will all continue to grow – and although my sight will fade and my hands become less steady, I know for certain that I’ll always be doing this life with a camera in my hand.