It’s what photojournalism is all about.
The moment I took this photo it was immediately one of my favorites from 2014…
One month after their wedding day, the bride’s grandfather passed away.
Last October I turned 30. It was a weird feeling. No longer considered part of the “college age crowd,” married, with two kids. I realized that I’m getting darn close to that strange and scary thing called “middle aged.”
As I’m sure many people do at milestones like that, I took the opportunity to do some deep reflection on my life – who I am and what I’m doing with my time on earth. I’m the type who searches for meaning in everything. I am no existentialist by any means. I believe in eternity and that our lives here have a huge impact not only on our own eternity, but that of those we influence with our lives.
I was having coffee that morning with my dad at one of my favorite cafes. I suppose I get my sense of introspection from him. He’s like that too. He shared some thoughts about his life and how it feels to have his two oldest sons approaching middle age now. It was one of those landmark father-son talks that forced me to do some real soul searching.
I sat down by myself after he left for work and just started writing. I don’t do it enough, but I actually really enjoy it. Words started flowing and here’s an excerpt that I wanted to share:
“I struggle with my own chosen work. I frequently feel like what I do is vain and pointless. I take pictures for a living. Today my dad told me about his memories of me as a baby and as a child and as a teen and as a young adult and now as a young father. He told me that he wishes he had done a better job of creating photographic memories of his kids because now his memory is starting to fail. Just faint mental images. A few here, a few there. More like feelings. Years…decades reduced to blurry moments… Those thoughts suddenly gave so much more purpose to my work.”
I honestly do struggle with this thing. I think it’s the business aspect of being a photographer that seems to make it feel more like a job than an expression of my soul. But those words from my dad made a big impact and gave a lot more meaning to what I do.
This photo isn’t one of the most artistic or creative images I’ve made by any means. But it’s one of my favorite because of the meaning it holds for those people in it. Decades of life and history and relationship. Deep emotion welling up in an old man seeing his grand daughter given away in marriage. A moment in time captured and none of us knowing that one month later he would be gone from this world.
Capturing moments like this is important. I’m glad and honored that I was in the right place at the right time… That’s what photojournalism is all about.