Today is Mothers Day in many parts of the world, and it got me thinking about the role of family in my life. It was my mom who paid for those first rolls of film to be developed and all those flash cubes that I used on that early Kodak 110 film camera. It was my Mom who always made sure we had pictures at family events and on trips (and still does till this day). It was Mom who built the family photo albums.

The Role of Parents

How many of us owe our career or our greatest passion to our mothers or fathers? Both played a key role in my life from encouraging me to pursue my interests, to funding the costs of developing film, to just providing an audience for those early showings. I sometimes wonder if I provide the same support to my own kids. Its important to make the time for childrens interests early in their lives.

If you have children of your own, take today to teach them something. Make it a day that both you and they will remember. It doesn’t have to be about photography, but it should be a memory. After all, thats what photography is to me saved memories.

The Power of Family Pictures

Yesterday was a birthday party for my son. In the midst of all the craziness the day came and went with only a single photo being made. He had a great time, but I feel a small pang of guilt that I didn’t capture that event for him.

The day before, a friend prepared for her fathers funeral. She showed me a picture that her mom took. In it was my friend as a little girl and both her father and grandfather. It provided a touchstone for warm family memories during a hard time. It wasn’t a special occasion, just an ordinary day when they all happened to be together.

I need to be better at this. I need to aspire to help capture the moments that matter for the people who matter to me. I suspect a lot of photographers are in the same camp… tons of great pictures but very few of their families.

Passing On Your Love of Photography

I was asked yesterday by a colleague to have a discussion with his high school daughter about careers in photography and possible paths to study in school. I realize that this is a pretty important responsibility and one I need to make time for.

On the same day I was asked to mentor several boy scouts working on a journalism badge this Fall. A demand on my time, but one thats well worth it. Making sure that future generations have an appreciation and the skills to document the world is an important skill. Every award-winning photographer started as a kid with bad gear, bad composition, and a lack of focus. It was the help of others that let them discover their passion and build the needed skills.

What Can You Do About It?

Id like to give you a short to do list lets see if we can’t make the love of photography translate into something even more.

  1. Pass it On. Mentor at least one youth a year. This can be a scouting group, a church group, a relative, or an acquaintance. The questions they ask will inspire you to learn more too.
  2. Take Family Pictures. Start making some snapshots again and get your loved ones back in the frame. Not every picture needs to be fine art, make some memories that are just for you and those you love.
  3. Call Your Mother. It is Mothers Day after all and even if it wasn’t, its still a good idea to say thanks every once in a while.

Please share your ideas and stories below…. and pass this article on to your photography friends.