“Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.” -Brian Andreas
I think I must have been about five years old when I first remember sneaking into my mother’s room to go through her chest which held all the things and memories most dear to her. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be in there, and so either myself or my big sister would stand watch to make sure no one was coming. I didn’t know what most of the items could possibly mean to her, but when I found the photographs, I knew that somehow they spoke to me. They were hers, and now I realize how infinitely precious those photographs really are; Photographs of her and my dad when they were still young enough to practically be children themselves, though still seemingly ancient to me as a little child; Photographs of her childhood, though there were so few. I giggled at the pictures of her with funny faces, as she’s always been good at, and sat in awe of my beautiful mom sitting in a field of flowers, like a true child of the 70’s with hair parted down the middle and sweeping away from her young, soft, porcelain face.
And I knew I loved her.
There were photographs of her siblings, one in particular whom I barely knew. However, it was her wedding photos I usually found myself pouring over, capturing my imagination, though they pale in comparison to the lavish grandeur of weddings today, as she stood there in her homemade wedding dress. To me, it couldn’t have been more lovely. I always envisioned my own wedding and how magical it would be someday. Then I always found myself coming back to one image in particular;
A photograph of a mother she never knew.
She tragically passed while my mom was at the tender age of 2. I think it is impossible to fully understand a thing like that and how it impacts the life of a child. My mother, despite the difficulties she went on to further endure, always clung to what was good and pure and today, she is an amazing mother and friend. She truly is one who seeks the good in others, even when you struggle to find it yourself. Each person leaves her company feeling uplifted. I should hope to live my life in just such a way. Her unwavering faith in the Savior and testimony of His gospel even in the face of great difficulties and tumult has always been a source of light for me. I imagine she often looks upon that image of her mother’s 18 year old portrait and wonders what she was like, what dreams she may have envisioned, or what kind of relationship they might have had. It breaks my heart to think of it. I can only imagine how sweet that reunion will be for the both of them in Heaven.
I think of that photo often.
I have always been mesmerized by the power of a single photograph; the power to capture a moment and suspend it forever in time. The feelings and emotions we felt come flooding back and it is easy to remember all that is good and true in this world. We rarely take photos of the difficulties we have; the tears we shed, the heartaches we endure, failures we experience or each stubbed toe and curse word emitted after such an event. When we look back over the photo books of our lives they tell a story of happiness, fond memories of campfires and practical jokes, childhood and holidays past and especially the people we love along the way. It is art in its purest form.
I know many who would argue that a photograph is not considered art unless it encapsulates perfection in composition of light and subject, perfectly in balance. I would venture to say that any image that speaks to an individual on some level may be deemed art. It’s a tiny piece of history of places we’ve been or people we’ve encountered and may never see again, or at least not quite like they are in that moment. They are the things of which we do not wish to forget. A child’s first steps, an award given, or the simplicity of a fiercely burning orange and pink sun-setting sky after a bad day. Admittedly, you may not be able to make money at it, and even if you do, you’ll always find someone who’s better at it, but that doesn’t make it any less of a piece of art. The image of my grandmother is rather traditional and drab; in fact it is hardly interesting to anyone that knows nothing of her. Although, if you were to ask my mother about that image and what it means to her, she might not be able to find the words to tell you just how precious it is, but you would certainly feel the emotion it evokes.
During my career as a photographer, I have had so many incredible opportunities to capture the beautiful moments of the lives of once complete strangers; birthdays, weddings, special events and births. The story of a birth is a powerful one. It’s incredibly beautiful, though as a teenager sitting in sex-ed I might have vehemently disagreed! I’ve had just a few opportunities to photograph a live birth, and though I am a professional, I never could stop myself from letting the tears streak my cheeks. One in particular touched me dearly as I knew that the 9 month journey was only the tail end of a much longer journey and struggle with infertility for this couple. They were so blessed to finally conceive after doctors had told them it would take a miracle. The images below are of their beautiful blessing and triumph over the impossible, and I was fortunate enough to be chosen to photograph all of it.
As I look over these images, I realize that they are not technically the most perfect; the lighting was dim and the room was small, but it is impossible not to recall the precise feelings of elation and peace when that handsome little boy finally arrived.
That is the power of an image, however imperfect it may be.
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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!