I really love the picture above. I’ve taken many photographs in my life, easily over 50,000 and I never really had a “favorite” shot up until this one. Here’s the back story;
This past Christmas (whoa, already feels like a while ago), I was asked by my church to snap some photobooth portraits for their Christmas outreach event with their main focus being on families from both inside and outside of the church. About half of the attendees were families from the local community of Malton which I thought was pretty awesome to see. I was by myself at the shoot without the usual help of my lovely assistant (wife) so it was a bit stressful setting up all my equipment and coordinating things by my lonesome. But I did get some help from some very helpful volunteers who even brought me food throughout the night. Even though I was too busy to really eat any of it, the gesture was very much appreciated.
Anyway, I’ve digressed. So I set up in a nearby room that was fairly large. Each family was to come into my room to take a photo with their family prior to making their way to the gym for the festivities and food. After having shot photos of most of the families, I stared at my cold food and thought it was time to start eating. This is when I met the family above.
They walked in very quietly and politely. The kids were very well behaved but the father seemed anxious and almost grumpy. I didn’t really have time to make conversation with all the families as I took their photo (it was pretty much an assembly line for the sake of efficiency), but the man seemed to want to engage in some small talk with me as he took his coat off and made his way to the shooting area. When I asked how his day went, with a tone that indicated more exhaustion than annoyance he told me that he had worked the entire day (it was a Saturday) and that he was wiped of any and all of his energy. He didn’t complain about being where he was, but I could clearly tell that he would’ve much rather been at home relaxing on the couch after a long and hard day’s work.
When the family got into position together, ready for me to take the shot, I said something about everyone giving me a huge smile together as a family and I distinctly remember the dad almost relaxing or exhaling before smiling for the picture. It’s as if he realized the moment for what it was and thus was able to smile genuinely rather than just look tired which was probably his first inclination.
The reason why I love this photo so much is because it tells a story without me having to write this all out. From what I can see from the photo, I see a very tired hard working blue collar father with his three kids whom he loves very much and the kids are genuinely happy that their father brought them to this event. You can tell that they love their dad just as much as he loves them. I wish I could take credit for the body language (poses) but it was all natural. The emotions conveyed in this photo speak so loud and clearly.
This isn’t me tooting my own horn, but rather my attempt to remind myself (and you in the process) that what I do as a creative outlet slash hobby/passion is pretty damn cool and I should never take any of it for granted. I don’t think of myself as someone who takes photos but rather someone who captures moments/emotions. As corny as that may sound, it is the approach that I adopt and I’ll always have this photo to remind me of just that.