And then she died. (It's actually a happy blog)
For most of us, our parents are pretty wonderful people. They brought us into the world, and I feel that our children are the most wonderful people imaginable.
I once read that taking photos of our children and displaying them around our homes, gives those children an anchour in their world. We make very few conscious memories before the age of four. Imagine being four or five years old and looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking "how did I get here?" It would seem a common question for a child, to want to know! My feeling is that if we take photos of them as they are growing, its essential that the child can see them, so prints are important. The child can see their progression from baby to toddler to where they are now, as a thread across time, they can see how they got there, (without a biology lesson). I have some lovely memories of childhood, playing with my brother, not getting into too much trouble!
These are my sisters and me, aged three or four-ish. The tree in the background was a peartree, that we used to climb on. I imagine that my brother was a small baby at this time. A part of our lives that most of us don't or can't remember, these photos show us that we existed. It shows me clearly, demonstrating to my young brain that I existed, its the history, the story of my life, the thread.
The purpose of this blog is not about photos of our children, but photos of our parents.
This is a shot of my dad, as a young man, maybe about 20 years old, just joining the RAF. I am not sure of the details.
The next photo, is the day when he got his "Wings" and had qualified as a pilot, taken in the mess room at RAF Leuchars.
Dad lived for 80 years and I only have a few other photos of him. As one of the most profoundly important people in my whole life, I'm quite shocked and a little disappointed. Now, knowing what I do, I would have purposefully made some images of him.
Because Dad took the photos, as seems to be the case in a lot of families, there are many more photos of Mum.
This image was purposefully made in a photgraphy studio, in Hereford. Someone must have paid to have them taken, its my favorite photo of Mum.
After dad died, I took many photos of Mum, I actually made an effort to get photos of her. She had dementia and gradually deteriorated over 15 years after dad died.
I had a conversation with an acquaintance some time ago. We were chatting about photography. He was asking about having me come and make some images of his parents, as they were both ageing badly (illness etc). I said of course I would. However this did not come to pass and both of his parents a have now died and there are very few photos of them.
I took my lights and my then best camera over to Mum's flat, and did a portrait session with her. We spent the afternoon taking photos, chatting and drinking tea. Even in her late 80's she was a little nervous to begin with! I did not spot the emergency pull cord thing, though, but I guess it was part of her world at that time.
This image was even more fun. I happened to say to her one day that the "Flying Scotsman" was coming through Hereford in a few weeks time. She explained that she had travelled on the train on several occaisions, but had never seen it from the outside.
On the day, I had a bit of a job to get her out of the old peoples home that she was living in. I had packed a picnic and we went to my daughters allotment, next to the tracks in Hereford and waited. This image is of her, as excited as a child, waiting to see the train. We ate our picnic, drank our coffee and eventually the train came. Curiously, it slowed to a standstill right next to us for a couple of minutes. Then with the roar of steam and smoke, off it went. She was as happy as could be, and I go this lovely shot of her
And then she died, just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday, 15 years to the hour after Dad had died!. She had a long, and I think, happy life. I have many lovely images of her, which in turn, give me lovely memories of her. 19 years after Dad died, its a job to remember what he looked like, seeing these photos, bring the memories flooding straight back.
Go and purposefully make images of your families. Get someone like me to make professional images of them, take them with your phone or whatever, but make the memories.