Archive for October, 2009

The Loyal Ones

October 24, 2009

I’ve photographed these three heartbreakers since they were toddlers! Their moms, Jennifer and D’Re, are two of my most loyal clients.  New clients are exciting, but the ones that continue to come back to you are the ones you cherish. They are the ones you truly form a relationship with and look forward to seeing, even if it’s only once or twice a year. Ladies, we really do need to get together more than just for a photo session! Like I said, some people you just hit it off with from the start. Needless to say, I was thrilled when D’Re contacted me to photograph their crew for the holidays. Here are a few of my favorites:

The three musketeers--Jack, Charlie, and Jake

The three musketeers--Jack, Charlie, and Jake

Charlie is the fun-loving, ham and Jack is the serious thinker. At least that's what I gather when I'm around them. They are equally precious!!

Charlie is the fun-loving, ham and Jack is the serious thinker. At least that's what I gather when I'm around them. They are equally precious!!

 

I love this one of Eric and D'Re!
I love this one of Eric and D’Re!
Eric, D'Re, Jack, and Charlie

Eric, D'Re, Jack, and Charlie

 

They were done taking photos. . . until I asked them to stand on the chairs!

They were done taking photos. . . until I asked them to stand on the chairs!

Aunt Joan and Jake

Aunt Joan and Jake

Jennifer and Jake have the prettiest blue eyes!

Jennifer and Jake have the prettiest blue eyes!

I’m a bad grand-daughter. At least I feel that way right now. The only grandparent I have left is my paternal grandmother. She turns 86 on Oct. 25. Recently, I’ve had the burning desire to photograph her. I don’t know, I just felt like I needed to remember her the way she is right now. Although I think about her a lot, I don’t call her enough, and I certainly don’t visit her like I should. I could blame it on time, I’m too busy, I’ve planned too much and can’t fit in a visit with her. But all those excuses are LAME. Truth is, I’m ashamed that I don’t spend as much time as I’d like to with her.

As a child, I spent lots of time with Nanny in her Merle Norman studio in Gonzales. I remember sitting with her in the LazyBoy chair in the back of her studio and watching “All My Children” while we ate lunch or listening to her read from a book of fairy tales. When a customer came in, I’d tiptoe behind her and listen while she offered her expert advice on makeup and beauty. I loved to watch her open the tiny drawers on the vanities and take the bubble makeup samples with a flat sides that peeled back. You could almost fit an entire fingertip in one and dab it on your face. Nanny was a master at dolling up anyone’s complexion. Her face was always perfectly made, her skin flawless. I thought she was beautiful. I still do.

I have to give credit where credit is due. This contest is inspired by 2 photographers who wrote 2 blog posts that blew me away with emotion. The first photographer is Zack Arias. He wrote this about his stepfather: http://www.zarias.com/?p=236  I read it soon after he wrote it (Aug. 25, 2008) and it has resonated in my mind ever since.  The 2nd photographer, Angie Sloan, wrote this blog post on October 9, 2009:  http://sloanphotographers.info/?p=1031  Please, please read them before you read about this contest!

 Okay, now that you are dabbing the tears away from your eyes, take a deep breath and get excited! Pick up a camera. Please don’t buy some expensive contraption you won’t know how to use because you refuse to read the instructions. Just dig up a point and shoot digital camera or your old polaroid and photograph one of your elders who is special to you (grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, great-aunt, great grandma, great uncle, great grandpa, elderly family friend). Submit your favorite photo of an elder to me either by email:  lmdabney@comcast.net or mail (504 West 30th St, Houston, TX 77018). The contest ends  at midnight Dec. 31, 2009. The winner will receive a free photo session with me plus an 8X10 mounted print of your winning shot. The only people who cannot participate in this contest are my professional photography buddies. Sorry, guys and gals! Any other questions? Leave a comment!

This is Nanny reading to my younger daughter Tess:

Nanny and Tess

what is in a photograph?

October 7, 2009

How powerful is a photograph? What is the value of a photograph or can we even put a price on it? One answer lies in this moving story on Oprah about Stephanie, a mother of 4 young children whose life changed instantly when she and her husband survived a terrible plane crash.  Andrea, another stay-at-home mom who was at her wits end, visited Stephanie to gain another perspective on motherhood and what it means to get the opportunity to spend precious time with your children.

In the video of Andrea’s visit, there is a moment where she sees a beautiful family portrait of Stephanie and her family hanging on the wall in the hallway. Stephanie was (and still is, in my opinion) stunningly beautiful and the family looks so happy. Andrea says, “That’s a beautiful picture. . . you were very beautiful.” It’s obvious that the portrait is so very special to Stephanie. It is, I believe, the most poignant part of the video clip. I wonder what the photo means to Stephanie? Did the photographer know at the time just how important that portrait would be? As photographers, we need to remember that every shot could be the one a family will hold onto for a lifetime.

Here’s the video clip from Oprah:  http://www.oprah.com/media/20090924-tows-stephanie-struggle-crash 

If you would like to read more about Stephanie, she has a blog:  http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/. Her story is truly inspiring.