why i document

time passes by way too fast. memories fade a bit. details not so clear. a bit fuzzy even. but there is something about a photograph that holds it all. every color. every detail. things that we could never remember without seeing it.

i document my family to hold onto these memories. these little bits + pieces of time. i started out in photography trying to capture only the “perfect” image. close up shots. no background distractions. but i eventually realized that although beautiful, these photos often lacked emotion. content. stories. and memories. so i shifted the way that i saw life through my lens. i wanted to capture more of the whole picture. the whole scene. the whole room. and all the people and things that were a part of the moment i was shooting. because all of these things tell the story of each photograph.

i just wish i had done this more often. i wish i had more everyday life photos of my boys with my uncle joe. playing. laughing. being together like i remember in my mind’s eye. because cancer took him from us yesterday. at 51 years old. and all that we have left are memories. and photographs.

we spent lots of time with uncle joe after moving back to florida two and a half years ago. we were living with my parents and their house is always full of family. a hub if you will. we saw uncle joe every weekday. he spent so much time with the boys. godfather to our little tate.

right after tate was born, i was still getting comfortable taking photos of real life and including other people in my images without making them feel awkward. because you know how most people shy away from cameras. i let that scare me away from taking photos that i really wanted to. i wish had had been bolder. less afraid of some imagined discomfort. i wish i had taken more photos of those everyday moments. of uncle joe playing with quinn and tate. i wish i had insisted on taking those photos of uncle joe + aunt shirley. even when he was going through his cancer treatment. and didn’t like how he had changed on the outside. the photos i wanted to take at the local starbucks of them doing their favorite thing. drinking coffee together. i wish i had those to give to aunt shirley right now.

thankfully, i did manage to take a few photos of uncle joe and my boys. just a regular day in september of 2010. tate was learning to crawl at 8 months old. and quinn was playing wii in the living room. uncle joe was down on the floor playing with them. i took photos that day. they were not just zoomed in on the boys. i took a step back and captured the whole scene. these images show a morning that was nothing special. except that it was. because it reminds me of how it is the everyday that matters the most.

this is why i document. i might not have a lot of photos with uncle joe and the boys. but i am so grateful for the few that i shot that day. because i will have them to show the boys when we tell them all about him as they grow up.

so be bold. be brave. take the photos your heart tells you to take. record. document. do it today. be in photos with your family. capture everyone. because today we are making the everyday memories that will be so important tomorrow.

show hide 4 comments

stacey - I’m so sorry for your loss, Tracy.
This post and photos are precious. Thinking of you. xo

janet - I’m so sorry for your loss, he was way too young.

Rose - Tracy, this one resonates with me so much. That’s why i document as well. to remember and have the memories. I’ve lost so many family members, I need to document life as it is now so my son can see and have it.

I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers go up for you. But you have these wonderful pictures to share with your boys forever.

this self photo thing » tracy larsen blog - [...] in february, my uncle passed away. he was only 51 years old. just 11 years older than me. before his memorial service, i helped my [...]

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