February 4, 2013

Memories of Christmas (and Gas Shortages and Power Outages) | NY Family Photographer

I’ve been thinking about memory lately.

When this session’s turn finally came up for blogging (my last for 2012 — I’m caught up!), it occurred to me how odd (in a good way) it is to see a Christmas tree in the background of one of my lifestyle sessions.  If you’ve hung around here for a while, you know that sessions generally wrap up in mid to late November.  I’m still working after that, but my goal is to spend the latter half of November and early December taking care of all the culling, editing, proofing, designing, ordering, packaging, and delivering of my fall session orders, so that I can immerse myself in Christmas-ing with my own four (plus) memory makers in the last couple of weeks before the big day.

But this year was pretty different.  I remember when the long awaited scheduled date for this session came around.  You’ll recall, of course, that this little beauty, after making a surprise early debut while mom was on a business trip in Baltimore, lived the first year of her life in a pretty Brooklyn neighborhood, and that we captured one of her last trips to the neighborhood park last spring before she moved to a new house in the suburbs. (Another fave from that session is here).   Not my suburb …. a suburb that would require a bit of driving.  Our session in November of 2012 was to be my first visit to their new house.  And November 2012, you’ll recall, was a very weird time.   I called this beauty’s mama to regrettably tell her that with my car’s gas gage hovering near empty and the post-Sandy gas shortage preventing me from getting any more gas, I just didn’t think I could make their session.  She replied with relief that there was no way she could pull it together for a photo session anyway.  Her new neighborhood still had no power, you see, and she had sent her little darling to stay at her grandma’s house for a while, where it was warm and bright.  Not only were there no warm showers/baths to be had, the star of the show was completely unavailable!  And so, we postponed.  This story, of course, was one of many like it last fall.  We eventually rescheduled, and by the time we did, things had settled down a bit and yay, the tree was up!

So, that’s the chain of memory that was triggered when I pulled these photos up on my screen to start the process of choosing a few to share with you and thinking about what I might say about them.  And it’s the whole “chain of memory” thing that started me on this thought.  If this pretty lady pulls these photos out of the box in 30 years, her first thought might be, “This must have been the first Christmas we spent in our new house.”  But unless I’m wrong, there’ll be more attached to these photos than that.  There’ll be the stories her mommy and daddy tell her, cuddled up on the couch, maybe, with a storybook album, or just crouched together near the end table next to a framed favorite from the session, about the time we were all in when these photos were taken.

There are always stories, of course — even when the stories aren’t connected to something as dramatic as a natural disaster.  If this family sits with these photos for long enough on a given day, they may remember the person who gave baby that pretty Christmas snow globe.  Or how the ornament she made this Christmas still hangs on the tree every year.  Or how much they hated the wallpaper in the kitchen when they first moved in.  (I know they’re changing it, so I can say that).   And every family will have its own memory chains, triggered by different little details in their own photos.  (This is assuming, of course, that they PRINT their photos, and make them available in some tangible way that can be enjoyed over and over, and get these story/memory chains started, and don’t leave them sitting on a disk or drive in a drawer, never to be seen again — but that, my friends, is a rant for a different blog post.  Or two.)

Whew.  That was a mouthful.  Every once in a while I really get going, huh?  One final note on this session before I shut my trap and let you go enjoy the rest of the photos.  There’s one thing that shines through this session (and all this little one’s sessions) without a single word being said.   If these photos appeared miraculously from nowhere in 30 years, never having been seen before and without a single nostalgic word of explanation, you wouldn’t be able to miss the adoration these parents have for their merry little sunshine.   Well deserved, of course.  She’s awesome.

Now, enjoy.