Today I was reminded, on several oCafinnate Academysions, why photography and photographs are so important. Firstly, I started the morning, driving on my way to another Xtraordinary Women networking breakfast. On the way, I was mindful of the fact that my Granddad’s memorial services was happening in the UK this afternoon and how my family had looked for photos that they could use for a slideshow to celebrate the life of my Granddad. It struck me then that those photos are now the only tangible records of the story of his life that we have left. A bit of a lump in the throat moment for me then.
Once I had arrived at the breakfast, it wasn’t long before the chit chat and networking began. I’ve already photographed several of the women in the room over the years, and this morning another woman approached me and said that she needed to book to have her headshots done for her website. She explained though that it’s the last thing that she WANTS to do, because it taps into every insecurity she has about herself but that it’s something she HAS to do, because her business calls for it. This is a woman who owns and runs a very successful business. I was moved by the strong emotion she very clearly felt just by talking about getting her photo taken and was reminded that, as woman, at some point, we all feel inadequate or not beautiful enough or somehow embarrassed to have our photos taken. We all have our issues. When in fact, we should all be celebrating our beauty. The beauty that we each inherently have.
The next woman I spoke to was telling me how her daughter had bought her a small point and shoot camera. And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s nice’. But then she continued to tell me that her dog of 16 years had reached the end of his long life and was going to the vet later in the morning to be put down, and how she had asked her daughter to get some last photos of him on the little point and shoot camera, before it was time to take him to the vet. That just about broke my heart as I thought about my own dog and the hundreds and hundreds of photos I’ve taken of her over the years. And how I wished away ever having to contemplate that last vet visit.
Next was the guest speaker of the morning and the reason we had all shown up for the event. Braam Malherbe, an extreme conservationist and all round good guy was talking to us about his treks across the Arctic, his little jog along the full length of the Great Wall of China and his quick sprint along the entire coast of South Africa from Namibia to Mozambique. He shared pictures from his adventures and recalled his hardships and I kept glancing at him as he moved through the images and saw that each one still conjured up the emotions and pain he must have experienced on those trips. Ultimately, he was making the point that anyone can do anything, provided you know WHY you’re doing it. And often it’s that WHY that will get you through the toughest of times.
He shared a quote with us that just struck a chord with me.
He said, his version of hell is ‘Arriving at the end of your life and meeting the person you could have been.’
Queue the lump in the throat. For the forth, but not final time of the morning.
My day pretty much continued with these ‘lump-in-throat’ moments, all somehow, relating to back to photography, or at least me interpreting it that way.
So today I’m grateful for the many, many reminders of why I do what I do and that it’s so much more that taking pretty pictures.