Capturing and Preserving Memories
Photographer, Kathleen Coffler on Why I do what I do, and why it matters.
When I was confronted with the question of why I do what I do, I had to stop and think about it. But it really didn't take me long to say what is in my heart. I picked up my very first camera when I was 11 years old to capture images of my cat and nature so that I would always have them to look back on. This continued over time but when I had my children it took on more intensity and meaning. Children grow so very fast. In a blink of an eye they are off to kindergarten, then middle school, and high school. I'm so very blessed to have captured so many of their milestones with photographs. Fortunately It is so easy for people to capture memories and events now with digital cameras and cell phones. But even more important is having printed photos to compliment them. Albums and wall portraits that you can pass by in your homes. These contribute to a child's sense of importance and self esteem. And the physical media is much better to thumb through than digging around digital files on a computer. I've seen how my own children and their friends react to seeing their images on walls and albums in my own home. I've found some interesting links to support this information too, in case it may be an interest to you: A study from 1975 about photos and self esteem in children here, A 2009 article in DailyMail in the UK that reports on similar findings here, and a 1994 article in the Baltimore Sun here.
Not just our children
I know that I don't want to see my memories fade over time and I want to forever remember all those precious years, and all the special or not so special moments. Like it or not, memories fade, but photographs help keep the memories longer and reinforce them. Even seeing photographs of myself, my sisters, my brother, and other family members is important. Isn't is nice to see how we change and the times and trends around us? It becomes a legacy for the entire family. It isn't just to keep alive the memories of our children, but also us with our children and in our interactions with them. It is how they see and remember us. A legacy and a family history. We preserve memories as much for our children as for our future generations.
Prints, Digital, and Professional Portraits
There are apps now that will assist in printing your memories from social media, such as facebook and instagram. I totally encourage this! There is always the possibility that the images could be gone in an instant when they exist only in social media sites or on your phone. It is a good idea to have prints and albums as well as backing up your digital images. I also believe it is important to have professional (or semi-professional at the very least) portraits taken periodically. How often is up to you, but I for one feel that at least once a year for children and every two to three years for adults. Any special events of course are a must; wedding, graduation, engagement, so on.
Recommended Portraiture Intervals
- Infant around 6 months Old
- One Year Old - Baby
- Two to Three Years Old - Toddler
- Four to Five Years Old - Preschooler
- Six to Eight Years Old - Elementary School
- Nine to Twelve Years Old - Tween Years
- Thirteen to Sixteen Years Old - Teen Years
- Seventeen to Eighteen Years Old - High School Senior
- Prom and Homecoming
- Annual Family Portrait
- New family member
- Generational and multi-generational
- Celebrating a milestone of any kind