Words from the wise – Newborn Baby Photographer Macarthur Area
What is your earliest memory? When was your earliest memory? They say our earliest memory is around the age of three or four which means that we pretty much lose the first two or three years of our lives and even then the memories that we have is a three or four-year-old are patchy and scarce. Being a Newborn Baby Photographer Macarthur Area I know this all too well.
One of my earliest memories funnily enough is of being put in a really tall bin by my Dad. He thought it was funny that the bin was only a little shorter than me. Now this bin was big, as I was quite small it probably came up to about my eye level, so I remember being in a tall orange bin knowing that I couldn’t get out of it without tipping it over and hurting myself in the process. I don’t know why that sticks in my mind that would be my earliest memory. Not the sweetest memory as you may expect.
From there I think I may have memories around the age of four or five. I vaguely remember being in preschool and singing songs at a Christmas party at the age of five. I remember when my sisters were born and from then I probably remember the odd day at school when I was about seven. I remember running home from the bus stop in a massive storm calling for help as I was terrified. I remember wearing crepe paper over my white shirt at a school sports carnival at the age of 8 and seeing the colours run when it started raining knowing I was going to be in trouble for ruining my white shirt… why do my earliest memories seems to be centred around negatives???
In general, like I said these memories from my early childhood are patchy and scarce.
But as a whole I remember more from the age of about 10 onwards. I remember playing cricket down the driveway with my siblings and I really getting in trouble all the time. I remember Christmases and holidays.
I spend a lot of time making memories for my children now, I always have and I always will but sometimes I think maybe those memories are just for me they may not recall them until they are older, and I can just relay memories to my children later on if I remember… and if I’m still here.
When I look back through photos from my childhood they offer trigger memories. The memories wouldn’t be triggered without a photograph so I try to photograph lots of things along the way just like we all do on my phone and I’m just as guilty as everybody else when that’s where it all ends. We have the best laid plans we have the best thoughts in mind, we take the photos but they live in a phone which is incredibly risky. I’ve spoken to so many people who have lost their phone, have dropped their phone, who I have dropped the phone in the toilet or put it through the wash. I’m always telling people to back up their photos, not just once but three times. We need to have multiple copies held in multiple locations in case one or two of those locations fails.
I think the thing I remember the most from my childhood is the long hot summer.
Six weeks of school holidays felt like six months back then and we had so much time on our hands! We were bored but we would occupy ourselves with medial stuff, but I remember the heat and the long hot summers.
I remember water. I remember going to the beach. I remember trying to cool down, but then again it’s the photos I have that trigger these thoughts.
As a parent and as a Newborn Baby Photographer in the Macarthur Area, I recommend we photograph our children every 1 to 2 years until they turn three, and then every two years until they turn six or seven, and then every three or four years after that. This is what I have done and I will continue to do so. It’s only when we look back that we can see the value of the opportunities we took and are so grateful to have now.
My car is currently branded. I have a newborn on one side, and a little girl with her mum on the other side and it gets a lot of attention especially when I’ve parked my car on the main street of Camden and there may be some 50-60-70 year olds walking past. They go crazy over the photos, they absolutely love it.
On Monday I was getting out of my car and an elderly gentleman stopped me and said “that photo is beautiful, absolutely beautiful! You’ve done well.” And then I asked him if he had many photos of himself with his own mother like that which opened an absolute can of worms and began a 30 minute conversation. Photography wasn’t it as accessible back then, professional photography was extremely different in all regards, it was expensive and the technology meant that in the way the photos were taken were different. Usually the person being photographed had to be relatively still in order for the photograph to work and be taken correctly. The gentleman’s initial response was “oh I wish! I absolutely wish I had a photo of myself at the age of five, laughing and wrapped in my mothers arms! It would be the absolute best thing I could own in my life!” He says he has photos of himself, he has his parents wedding photos but of course it was when he wasn’t there. He said family portraiture wasn’t really done back then for the average family. He said he lost his Mum at an early age in his teens. His memories of his Mother are patchy and becoming scarce as he makes new memories and as he grows older and his mind becomes full – those were his words.
Hearing stories like this just reinforces that what I am doing is incredibly valuable and only as time passes can we see that true value, or only as we lose a loved ones can we see that true value.
So now we jump forward 70 years and we have cameras galore! We have cameras in our phones, in our iPads, in our computers, in our cars I almost wonder if photography has become over used, abused, bastardised and devalued in the process.
While many people take happy snaps these days – which is wonderful I might add. There are not all that many professional photographers available. There may be around 5 to 10 or so in the Macarthur area. Only a handful that are specialised in a particular genre, weddings or newborns for example. But I for one am not going to let professional portraiture become a dying trade. I know when I am in my 80’s I would have passed on everything I know about the craft of photography, the skill and technique of working closely with people and the processes of business. I will know there is a legacy of my life work adorning the walls of homes all around Sydney being passed from generation to generation. I know I would have found a protégé who values and appreciates the craft of professional photography as much as I do and will carry the light for the next 100 years. That person could be my sweet daughter, she is highly creative and has a soft personality that brings down walls of the most guarded people so they can be themselves and be comfortable around her… This is the most profound skill a professional portrait photographer can have – the ability to be able to give people the comfort and the freedom to be themselves around you, and quickly so you can make the most of the hour or so you have with your client. This is a skill that can often not be learnt, but is more a personality trait you are born with.
When I am 80, I know my babies will have passed on their portraits, their wall art and their albums on to their own babies. Who would have a document of every year or two in their own childhood to be passed on again. I know my Grand children will have the photographs, the memory triggers to take them back to a time in their lives that they will more than likely not remember. Once this time has passed it absolutely simply cannot be retrieved. The value of an item that documents a day that could never possibly be retrieved is unfathomable. The term ‘priceless’ doesn’t even start to cover the value, it doesn’t even start.
As well as passing on photographs to the next generation we also need to pass on the value of professional photography, selfies on a phone don’t and won’t ever cut it. If you’re ok with selfies on your phone as the only document of your existence than I can tell you now, I am not the photographer for you. I only hope that the generations to follow can pick up this craft and possible ‘lost trade’ and give their own children the opportunity that many of us have had… That the elderly gentleman ultimately wished that he had.
The elderly gentlemen said one striking line that resonated. He said to me, “If only I could go back to when I was 5 or 10 and have a professional photographer take a photo of my Mother and I together, if only…” Sadly we both know there is no way on earth this can be done. I just wish there was some way I could give this to him like I do for a 100 families each year, but there is no way on earth that I can. That saddens me, but knowing this drives me, it drives me in a way I can’t possibly describe, to offer my skills, my experience, my knowledge and the elderly gentlemens life lesson, to as many people as I possibly can.
Karen is a portrait photographer servicing all areas in Macarthur and surrounds of Camden. If you are looking for a Newborn Baby Photographer Macarthur Area, please give me a call.
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Karen Ashcroft Newborn Baby Photographer Macarthur Area