I have been working on a passion project that has brought to light the importance of photography as documentation of people, places, events and things in our lives. Photography is an amazing resource to document our personal and family history - not just the milestone events but everyday happenings as well.
Photographs connect us to our past - they remind us of certain feelings, thoughts, and times in our lives. Just looking at a particular photo can bring us right back to the moment it was taken. We may remember a certain scent, what we had been talking about, what we were feeling, or who we were with - even if none of those things are specifically referenced in the photo.
Photographs are the Narrative of Our Life
What do you see in the photo above? A coastal scene? Rugged terrain along the ocean? Turquoise water that darkens as the ocean floor deepens? Wildflowers?
When I look at the photo I of course see all those things. But I see so much more than that. I am reminded of what was happening when it was taken. I was riding in the car with my mom and daughter as my aunt drove us up the coast of California, on our way to visit Fort Ross as part of a weekend trip. We were all feeling carsick from the winding, narrow road, so we stopped to get some fresh air. That is when I took this photo. While stopped, we all agreed we weren't up for several more miles of winding roads and turned to head back to Bodega Bay. We enjoyed an incredible afternoon in the salt air, walking along the beach watching and listening to the waves crash on the shore, bringing with them treasures from the sea. That trip will always be special to me, and every time I see this photo, it will remind me of all the incredible memories we created that weekend.
Photographs Communicate Our Legacy
Photography is a way for us to record our memories, but also serve as a way for us to share our memories with others. This little girl will likely have no memory of the day this photo was taken. However, for years to come she will certainly treasure this image of her with her grandfather. After hearing the story of the day this photo was taken, she will remember it and, when looking at the framed photo sitting on her dresser, associate this portrait with that story. Some day she may show the photo to her own children, sharing with them the story of the day it was taken. Without the photo, that particular day might be forgotten instead of being remembered for years to come.
Photos are a Way to Remember
As time goes on, photographs can help us and others remember specific details about a place, an event, or even a pet from years past. A few years ago, I found out a horse I used to own had been sold to a kill buyer. Not knowing if he had been rescued or sent to slaughter, I started a nationwide search - hoping to track down any information that would either confirm his safety or lead me to answers. Crucial to the search are photos I had taken of him many years prior that show his identifying markings. I have not been able to locate him or confirm what happened to him, but my search continues and the photos I have of him are an integral part of the process.
Photography plays an important role in preserving the story of our lives - I encourage you to document your personal and family history with photographs.
Award-winning portrait photographer Shannon Edney's photos have been featured on multiple magazine covers with photos published in print and digital advertisements around the world. Based out of Missoula, Montana, Shannon specializes in portrait photography showcasing people, dogs, and horses (all breeds, with a focus on the Arabian horse). Shannon is known for her ability to catch the perfect expression and capture her subjects in unique lighting, resulting in portraits rich in artistry that will be treasured for years to come.