Have you noticed that real life seems more romantic in photos? I think once you have 6 months of space from the moment the image was taken, the truth of it comes out.
I believe this to be true about a lot of things. Once you have a little distance from a significant moment in time, you are able to see it more clearly. It’s as if all the noise and murmur that was going on in your head at that moment, is no longerÂ relevantÂ You can see the truth of what was happening that day, that month, and really, that relationship. Think about how precious old family photos become as the decades continue to add on. Of course they are fun to look at for the retro quality they bring. “Look at those clothes… those cars… thoseÂ advertisementsÂ in the background. Look at how thin you were! Look at how young you looked there.” Those are all obvious. The thing that is more important and more valuable in those images is the clear distinct love that you can see among the subjects. You can see the pain if there was any. You can see the growth that hasÂ occurredÂ in a relationship.
Lots of people talk about photography as freezing a moment in time, or “capturing” a moment. I guess you could say that, but it always makes me cringe because it feels “to cutesy” of a way to describe something that I feel is so very important. It provides a mirror. It provides perspective. It provides truth.
THAT is a big deal.
April 2007: Since we were not yet married, I went to visit the Outer Banks with Dan and his grandparents. I remember waking up in the second bedroom of the trailer knowing Dan was so so close, sleeping on the couch in the living room. We were so so in love, and being at the Outer Banks for easter with his precious grandparents, just made me feel so much closer to his family. I felt like they were welcoming me in more and more each day. Dan and I went out to the beach and snapped this photo. I remember the pure happiness I was finally feeling, knowing that I had finally found the person who completed my heart. It was happy. Wholesome. Honest. and finally… safety for my heart. I was so happy in this moment, and as the years continue, this remains one of my most favorite images of the two of us. In this photo I can see the happiness that I knew was to come. I was right.
March 2008: It was just days before we were to be married at the beach. Dan had come to visit me at my parents house on a Saturday. We ran into the front yard, my heart just exploding with how much I adored him and how excited we were that we were almost husband and wife. We took photo after photo. I thought this one was a miss… but now, I can see the goofiness of it. The snuggle he has me in. The all too familiar smirk he makes when he’s shy in a photo. I can see how stinking happy I was. I dare say this was not a miss… but spot on.
April 2009: We were in Maine on Woods Island. The day had been so so hard due to tides and currents, and Dan had towed my and my kayak to this place because I didn’t have the energy to keep going. We set up camp and went on a little hike to see the lighthouse. I stood by while Dan ooed and ahhed at the waves on the rocks below, while I was freezing and exhausted but happy to be out of the boat. I asked him if he would take a photo and this is the one he took. In that moment I was feeling simply regular old me and nothing too special, but looking at it now I can see how much he cared about me and takes care OF me. He never mentions all the times he had to pick up MY slack and he still doesn’t. In kayaking it was literal, but honestly, it applies to our whole life. Dan takes care of me. That is what I see in this photo.
Remember that right now, this moment, this life, these photos are all part of your story. Photographs dont have to be perfect. They dont have to be THE photo that you meant to take. They dont have to be artsy or fancy… the only thing the MUST be is honest.
I charge you to take a few photos today. Don’t worry about thier perfection. Dont worry about anything other than taking photos of the most important things in your life right now. Take a photo of you and your best friend. Take a photo of you and your dog. Take a photo of you and your spouse. Take a photo of you in your most favorite place in your home. Just take some photos, and have them there for another day when you needÂ remindingÂ of just how beautiful your life really is.