Why are Photos Important? - Topher Gentry Photography

WHY ARE PHOTOS IMPORTANT?

You know all those embarrassing photos of you that your parents have tucked away? The ones that they bring out to show your friends and potential significant others? The photos of family trips, sports, parties, random craziness... Now try to imagine never being able to see them again. You never get to show them to your kids, their kids.. nobody. Well, welcome to my life. 

My families house burned down when I was 10 years old. It was a nasty fire too. It took out half the house with fire and the other half with heat and smoke damage. Pictures that were hung up in the hallway liquefied and oozed down the length of the hallway walls. My parents bucket of change they had won in Reno the night before  melted into a useless clump of black, smelly trash metal. The only thing deemed salvageable by the insurance company was the guest bathroom toilet. That night we lost pets, prized possessions and worst of all... memories. All of our home movies, photo albums, computers, refrigerator artwork, school projects, sports trophies... Gone forever with no chance of ever getting them all back. Years and years of recorded memories literally went up in a flash. 

Up until a year after the fire, my grandfather lived a room away from me. Even though he was only around for a third of my life, he was without a doubt one of the most influential people in my world. Having to come to terms with things like never being able to pop in a VHS and see him talk and interact with me as a kid (because our movies and photos are gone) is still something I am working on, even at 32. Truthfully I don't know if I am capable of letting that resentment go. Feelings like that are the ones I wouldn't wish on anybody. All I have is my memories of him and it truly scares me to death to think one day I could forget it all. I literally have goosebumps after writing that. Ughhhhh.

Now, believe me.. I am not looking for a pity party. Yes, it sucks but it also played a huge role in turning me into who I am today. I don't get caught up with material things, I am not a pack-rat, I am ok with throwing things away that I have had for a long time, I can live with "less". I mean, I fantasize about living in a van at least once a week!  These are all qualities that I feel blessed to have. The one quality above all others that I know came from this experience is my passion for capturing beautiful moments in photos. I have a totally different point of view because of it. Photography is an absolute privilege for me because I know first hand how invaluable the results are no matter if they are for me and my family or my clients. 

Photos aren't just things you share on Facebook or pull out of a shoe-box to embarrass your kids. They are literally your history! They are split seconds of your life that are instantly immortalized (Well, as long as you don't have a house fire and you only have them in printed form whilst chilling in said house lol). Try to wrap your head around this.. You know those decrepit old black and white photos of your great, great, great, great ancestors? You know the ones.. All the people in the photos look like they were woken up 5 minutes before their alarm clocks went off, just to take these photos. Yeah, well, your great, great, great, great grand-kids and beyond are going to do the same thing with the photos you take now. 

The beautiful difference between you and your ancestors is you can pretty much pick how you want to be remembered. If photos of your family looking like something smells bad in the living room is what you are into, that's cool. You have plenty of photos to reference and re-create those vibes. If you want beautiful candid, in-the-moment style photos that represent what your family is truly like.. You hire an awesome lifestyle photographer(cough, coughmme, cough). No matter how you want to be remembered, TAKE MORE PHOTOS. HAVE MORE PHOTOS TAKEN. That is truly what is the most important. Well that and how you secure them. That could be a whole other blog in itself. Luckily there are a ton of cloud based photo storage sites out there. Make sure you use them. Take it from my experience. You may not think much about the photos when you take them but later in life or even after... they could mean the world to someone. 


Just remember...You can't spell photography without,

-Toph


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