The FedEx truck pulled up to the studio the other day, as it does most days of the week, delivering yet another stack of packages. One of those boxes, however, was not just another box. It was a precious collection of moments in a season of life that is flying by so fast it makes your head spin. Wedding photos, perhaps? Nope, not this time.
We eagerly opened the albums, as we always do, our freshly-washed hands brushing invisible specks of lint from the smooth leather covers, our fingers gently turning every page. We poured over each one, checking to make absolutely sure that every detail was perfect and the finished product reflected the investment everyone had made – the photographer in his art, the publisher in their hand-crafted work, and the client in their decision to purchase the product. Satisfied, we turned the last page on the final album and caught our breath as the poignancy of that photograph sank in.
Those pudgy ankles. Those dirty little feet. She won’t always be this small, and she sure won’t think pudgy ankles are cute… at least, not until the day her arms cradle her own daughter. And that day will be here with the next blink. That is the very reason we became photographers. It is why we believe wholeheartedly in investing in heirloom products such as prints, canvases, and albums.
Thousand of photos are posted on social media and well-meaning friends click “like” and comment, “Frame this!” But how many times does that actually happen?
We may be a digital culture but that doesn’t mean print is dead, or even dying. For all our staunch defense of the world of click and swipe, there is a relationship with a book that can never be replaced.
The tactile experience of touching pages and stopping to engage with the colors and depth of each photograph awakens the senses in a unique way. Before you know it, you’ve sank slowly onto the couch and are flooded with memories.
How was he ever that little? And how could shoes that small cost so much money? But it didn’t matter because you just had to have them for picture day.
How about the wonderful smell of the grass that crisp fall day and the sound of the crunchy leaves as she scrunched them in her chubby fingers. You thought they’d never keep those hats on but they did, through the whole shoot.
Look at her sticking out her tongue in this one. It was cute that day, because she didn’t mean it the way she did a few years later during the terrible teens. But everyone survived them!
She loved to be swung like that and you did it until she was heavy enough to throw your back out but you didn’t care because her shrieks of “Again! Again!” made it worth the extra Advil you’d pop at bedtime.
Oh my – look at that little hand on his shoulder. As you close your eyes for a moment, you can practically feel those tiny fingers patting your back the way he used to do when he wanted comfort of his own.
And that dog. The number of shoes that were chewed his first two years could fill a closet. It turned out not to matter that much after all, because he became your other child.
Contagious giggles and sweaty cheeks. Strawberry lips and sand everywhere for weeks. You think you’ll always remember these things but you won’t.
You wouldn’t think twice about investing the money to make the memories. Don’t forget to invest the money to preserve them. Your inbox is probably flooded with promotional coupons for books from several different companies, but there is something to be said for investing in an heirloom product that your grandchildren will inherit one day. Something with quality that stands the test of time is priceless.
So let’s do this. Today. Before he’s too big to carry; before she’s too grown to twirl.