I have an obsession with life’s moments.
I’m not one to give myself titles or compliments. I have a giant fear of coming across as cocky, or thinking that I am better than I am. Because I never received a degree in photography, nor do I make it my career (yet?), I have always sort of shrugged myself off, and referred to myself as an “amateur photographer”. And sometimes even a “wannabe”. Because, to me, calling myself a “photographer” would be me giving myself one of life’s greatest compliments (to me, at least). I don’t feel as though I’ve “earned” that title yet.
Much to the probable dismay of many, owning a DSLR camera does not make you a photographer. Up until literally days ago, to me, being able to proudly wear the title “photographer” means having immense skill in the craft. Maybe even schooling in the field. One who goes out and makes their living documenting life, and one who is good at that. Not any random teenage girl who wants a shiny, expensive camera for her 16th birthday. Not the dime a dozen stay at home moms who spend $600 on a base model camera so that they can “take better pictures” of their children (you can get high quality from an iPhone). Not to say that these very scenarios never help to find a new talent, or help one to discover a power they have harnessed their whole lives, but never knew. Stay with me, here. I merely hope to describe just how high a pedestal on which I personally have perched real live photographers.
With that said, my brother’s wife gave birth to their baby five days ago, on July 13th. The first niece (of my now three) that I will finally get to play an active role with. When I got the call to go to the hospital for the first visit, the first thing I did (after my hair ;)) was grab my camera and start picturing all the cute little shots I could try and capture during the first day of this sweet little girl’s life.
Pictures of my brother with the baby, his wife with the baby, my mom with the baby, her parents, etc. No brainer shots, right? Right. Or so I thought. Up until that day, when I was 100% under the impression that everyone thought and felt the same way I did about photos, and memories, and the importance of documenting life’s precious moments that go by all too quickly, sometimes before we even have time to appreciate them.
It’s a well known fact that, as the “[amateur] photographer” in a setting, you take the pictures, and it’s very seldom you end up in them. I’m used to it, and not really one to dive in front of a camera anyway. A shot here and there to prove that I, too, exist, and was there at the particular event. You know? More often than not, when we are out with Anthony’s family, I have to sheepishly whisper to ask someone in his family to take a picture of us doing whatever we are doing at the time. I don’t want to seem like I just want to be in a ton of pictures (self-conscious about looking too into myself.. mentally ill, party of one!), but I do want that one small morsel of proof that I was also present, among the oodles of photos of others. Does this make sense?
I always wondered why this was. I think I just assumed people saw a camera and figured that it was “covered” and there was no need for others to take pictures. But after just casually mentioning to my mom that I should have taken a selfie with the baby on her first day of life, my mom reacted with, “well why didn’t you say something??” Which, ok, valid, I suppose? But really. I was under the impression that I wouldn’t have had to. And that’s when I understood. How mistaken I had been in assuming that everyone valued the documentation of life’s moments in the same obsessive way that I do. When I finally realized that maybe I am an “actual” photographer. One who photographs. Not necessarily a professional or overly talented. But just one with a passion for moments. An instinctive drive to ensure that life and memories are preserved in more physical ways than just inside people’s heads. I will proudly wear that title. And I think I’m finally ready to own it.
And just because I’m in love with this little nugget already, meet Peyton Juliet!