Written by Kenneth Tanaka
This week I lost a member of my family, someone who was part of my daily world for nearly half of my life. It can be all too easy to take someone so close for granted and let them become invisible. To my great dismay, despite owning a small fortune worth of camera equipment, that's what I had done. I could find no photos of him amidst the tens of thousands of images in my library.
Fortunately my wife, the sharper member of our partnership, had not suffered such a lapse and had an excellent series of snapshots from earlier this year. It was wonderful to see them. They'll certainly be treasures for the rest of our lives.
Which leads me to the point of this piece. Lest we forget, the primary reason most of us originally bought cameras was to record our lives. Our families. Our friends. Our travels. The things that give us joy. The things we love and care most for. The pursuit of "art" and self-expression is also a wonderful use of a camera. But it's a terrible mistake to allow such pursuits to distract you from covering all of the personal treasures of your life.
So may I suggest that today would be a good time to take pictures of the important souls in your world if you don't routinely do so. PRINT the pictures, the good and the "bad," and put them in a safe place. I can almost guarantee that one day they will become the most valuable pictures in your collection.
©2013 by Kenneth Tanaka, all rights reserved
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Featured Comments from:
Son of Tarzan: "So beautifully stated Kenneth. Thank you for sharing and more importantly, reminding us the value of memories, especially visual ones. That is the best reason for anyone's use of the photographic process. I am passing your words on to many of my family and friends."
Bill Poole: "One of my favorite photo anthologies is called simply Family: Photographers Photograph their Families—from Phaidon and with lovely reproductions. Well-known photographers' pics of the people closest to them. I bought my copy used and was surprised to find that it is still in print."
M. G. Van Drunen: "Wow Ken, what amazing timing. My wife and I returned home about two hours ago from the funeral of a dear friend who succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 58. We have traveled with Ken and Arlene for nearly 35 years.
"After she passed away her husband contacted me to check my files for pictures to be used by the funeral home in a video slide show for the wake. I was able to do this and it just made clear to me exactly what you have written...the pictures of Mount Rushmore are nice, but the pictures of Arlene standing in front with the Presidents in the background have now become priceless to me and hopefully her family.
"One more thought: The journey toward mastering the 'arty' shots has also help my priceless family and friend shots.
"Thanks for sharing your thoughts."