Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A favorite of mine - Gardens


This link takes you to my online gallery and a series of photographs I took in April. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is an incredible place to visit. Being able to photograph the experience and bring back images of the many wonders God allows us to enjoy in nature never ceases to amaze me.

In Knoxville I try to visit the University of Tennessee Gardens on Neyland Drive several times a year. This past Saturday was a good day to make a summer stop. The floral display is just incredible with Purple Cone Flower, 'Blushing Bride' Hydrangea, and mass beds of Petunias. The only thing missing is the aroma that you enjoy when taking a walk through the gardens.

Always a favorite of mine, I love to photograph in gardens. UT Gardens is also a very nice venue for weddings and an exceptional place for a formal bridal portrait. I hope to see you there on the other end of my lens some day soon!

Friday, June 20, 2008

What is the value of a portrait to a family?

As my photography career has developed, I have gained a new appreciation for the importance portraits and photographs have for a family. When a family loses a loved one, the importance of that image is magnified exponentially. If you watch the television news after any kind of unfortunate incident, what is one of the first things that appears in the newscast? A photograph of the person or persons involved. As a photographer, I have already captured the final image of two individuals, that I am aware of. That is heady stuff!

As a photographer "doing my job" at a wedding, I realize the responsibility I have to photograph the wedding party, the guests, the friends and relatives........mmmm, the relatives? Grandparents are such an important part of every family, for so many reasons, so I try to be sure to always include the grandparents in as many images as I can. After photographing Mollie's wedding in September 2007, and then her sister's (shown below in my first post) eight months later, I was told just before Maisie's May 24 wedding that "granddad is no longer with us". Thankfully they have many quality images of 'Granddad' from the September wedding.

I witnessed a similar occurrence attending a wedding in August 2001 (though not as the photographer). A first cousin of the groom was killed less than a month later in the World Trade Center. I had noticed his wife, who was radiantly beautiful in a black sequined gown showing her 6th month of pregnancy, and commented about her to my own wife. After 9/11 we heard about this young mother's loss. We never know what the future may hold for us and who we're photographing. My responsibility to 'capture the moment' is huge, not only for the bride, but for the entire family.

All of this may seem a bit morbid, and I apologize if it strikes you that way, but it is a reality of life. Portraits and photographs of all our precious loved ones are so important today. This hit home with me through a couple of incidents this year.

In January my wife received a phone call early one morning, the kind we never want to receive. One of her three sisters had been tragically killed in a traffic accident. We called our three children, who all live away from home and they returned to attend the funeral. The morning of the funeral, before we left for the drive to Rogersville, we decided to take a family portrait, as we had not done so in many years. I also took a group portrait of my 3 children. A copy is posted with this blog. I could not be more proud as a father of the lives they are living, the talent and accomplishments that makes up each of my children. This photograph means so much to me!

The second goes back to the TV news and the tragic loss of life at the Little Sioux Scout Camp in Iowa, earlier this month. One family was so proud of their young son and his accomplishments as a Boy Scout, that they submitted a photograph before the media had even released his name. He looked so mature, standing all polished and rigid in his Scout uniform, having been photographed at a recent Court of Honor after earning a new Scout rank. That photograph means everything to his family and they wanted the world to know that they were proud of their son!

My point in saying all this....if you haven't taken a family portrait or portraits of your children recently, you should do so. Don't wait for the next wedding or funeral in your family to gather the ones you love so dearly and take their picture. A family portrait, taken by a professional photographer should be a cherished keepsake in every family. Make your appointment today.