A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to document Mary’s 90th birthday celebration. Think about that number for a minute. 90. Ninety! How awesome is that? And on that day, she was surrounded by family and loved ones. Multiple generations: young children, and adults who were older in years, but young at heart. To make the event even more fun to capture, Mary was a hoot! When she saw me, she state (with a laugh), “I’ve had a few glasses of wine! I’m going to have to sit before picture time!”.
One of my favorite parts about the time I spent with Mary and her family, was watching them go through a suitcase full of old photos. Sure, as a photographer you enjoy seeing printed photos, but my emotional connection to this was about watching family members reminisce about days gone by. It was about experiencing them revel in how young they were in those precious keepsakes. They laughed, they smiled, they recalled families stories that they were reminded of. It was a beautiful thing to see all those family members- siblings, mothers, fathers, children-gathered around the table enjoying the same exact thing- memories.
I would like to thank the Alai family for inviting me to this wonderful celebration, and to congratulate Mary on her Milestone Birthday! And I must say, you make 90 look good!
A Personal Note
The day before I joined Mary and her family, I had attended the funeral for my aunt who had just passed. While the sadness was still fresh from the previous day, the few hours I spent with the Alai family was all about joy. I had just come from seeing my extended family (which is always nice, albeit for an unfortunate reason), and then I got to document theirs. I think this was a very healing session for me. Having just dealt with loss, made documenting this family gathering so much more meaningful. I have always touted that the most important thing to my photography, was connection. I can’t imagine feeling more connected than I did that day. I walked away that afternoon with a full heart.
The last thought (or maybe it is more of a strong suggestion) I will leave you with is to please, please, print your photos. I am kind of a broken record with this request, but it is only because I feel it is such an important thing to do. These prints are ultimately not for you now, but for your family, and for you in your later years. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Some 4×6’s in a box, or even better, and old suitcase. This is a gift you will be giving your family, and they will surely appreciate it.