The Secret of the Family Photo

October 26, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Family photo seems as old as disposable cameras, alongside dial tones and the telephone time lady. Isn't it funny, that the more technology progresses the more we tend to reflect on what came before?  Sure, these days we’re arguably happier and better equipped to take on the challenges of each day, but there’s no shaking this rose-colored vision we still have of the past.  Our nostalgia shows itself superficially, in fashion and Instagram filters, but it especially shows in a little trend that’s been gracing the internet for a little time now: the infamous “Selfie," and it influences the way we now have our photos taken: controlled, front and center.

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These days, most of us already know how we like to be photographed. The selfie is just one particularly poignant manifestation of the current spirit of our culture: internal, controlled, front and center. Many of us are so used to photographing ourselves that we forget how another’s lens can capture our uniqueness and beauty. Selfies are fun and all, but they pull us away from learning more about ourselves. A selfie will never capture the spirit off-guard or responding to something outside of itself.

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Think of the process of taking a family photo and compare it to taking a selfie. The family photo is holistic, temporal, and chaotic while the selfie is disparate, atemporal, and curated. The family photo alleviates the perfectionism of the selfie, and authenticates the self. A good photographer will know how to free you from yourself, to find what's remarkable about you and your family, and to bring out your character in surprising and innovative ways. 

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So treat yourself this holiday season with professional family photos!   If family is the bread of life, capturing those shared moments is the butter. Remember family photos from your own family, and think about what making new memories will mean to you. How will the family portrait describe you? Will it be candid or traditional? Will it be a soft and intimate record of a few individuals, or a broad and inclusive portrait of many generations? What idea would you like to show? Maybe it's love or commitment, legacy or tradition, or something else altogether. Maybe it's about how silly your family can be - jumping in the air together, or dressed in identical elf costumes and beards - or just how good everyone looks all dressed up.

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Even in our ever-paperless society, we still reserve the content we care for most in print.  We all have photos - of ourselves, of our parents, our grandparents, and sometimes even further back, but when they’re circulating on the interwebs it just ain’t the same feeling as taking a stepping stool to your bookshelf, brushing the dust off your massive family photo album, and sharing them with the guests of the house!


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