Before “That Moment” Passes
There’s no better time to photograph your parents’ best moments, or “that moment”, than when your family is together for the holidays or at the start of a new year. “That moment” refers to capturing a loved one in a timeless photo at a moment in time when they are the most themselves.
As our parents age, many things change. Sometimes that means just a few more wrinkles, but in other cases, a disease can take its toll. For example, a parent with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or cancer may progress through the disease faster than anticipated and certainly faster than we are prepared for. In these situations, there is the human condition of hope that often takes over us as a parent slips deeper into one of these states or just into the frailty of aging. Or, it can be the busyness of new demands on us that surrounds this stage of their lives. It is an overwhelming and distracting time and taking a photograph of your parents is sometimes the last thing you think of.
Often, we do not or cannot stop to consider the legacy we will want when they are gone. “That moment” can be quickly brushed aside by denial or hope that real change won’t happen for a while yet. However, regret is something that I often hear from families that are getting one last family picture or an aging parents’ portrait.
Think ahead to your future self. “That moment” is the kind of memory you want to hold in your hand and have hung up on the wall. In other words, it is the time when our parents are who they are and who they have always been. Their eyes sparkle, perhaps twinkle. For those that are struggling with a new diagnosis, they are at the top of the slide and they are at their best at this stage of their lives. This is the memory you want to capture. It is how they want to be remembered.
I got my Dad photographed at “that moment”. He joked at the time, “It’s a good thing you are doing this now, ‘cuz it’s all downhill from here!” We didn’t fully grasp how true that was at the time. While I got to capture my Dad and Sister, I missed it with my grandmother. So, I understand the regret that can happen. I remain sad that the moment slipped away while I was not paying attention to the future.
There is no better time than now to capture your loved one in a photo. As nice as they can be, don’t go for a smartphone shot. Find a professional photographer, someone who understands light and emotion. And will understand what this portrait will mean in years to come.
Over the holiday season, reflect on what you may want for the future. Truly, this is a perfect time to capture “that moment” and get a family portrait or to have crafted a dynamic revealing personal portrait of your parent. If the holidays are too packed, then make a time to get together to celebrate your parents and family in the new year.
Let other family members and friends know that you are going to photograph your parents. Because, they may want to join you. For example, I recently had a client who snuck in her mom’s best friends. She had no idea. We had their makeup and hair being done in another, separate area. Once we had completed the family photos, the guests appeared.
It was so unexpected, and it meant the world to her mom. You could see it everyone’s eyes, in their postures. When she picked up her prints, she told me how it was still talked about, and how much it would be cherished for years to come. The photographs from that session are infused with so much, and they contain more than any taken before it.
Be ready for “that moment” when it comes. Smile for the Camera, and know that a parents smile can live forever. Remember that embracing this time is so much more delightful than regretting the loss of it.
Inner Spirit Photography creates legacy photographs. Cherished images that reveal the warmth and character of seniors. For over 41 years internationally awarded, Master Photoartist Mark Laurie has enriched families with heartfelt photographs. See his portfolio and details at InnerSpiritofSeniors.com