This morning I came into my little office in Fremont to check my email, just like every other morning. But this morning wasn’t just like every other- In my emails, among a few other great ones and a whole lotta junk email, there was this one, shining email from a past client of mine. A couple of years ago we had the greatest little portrait session in their backyard, involving this woman, her aunt, and her uncle (who she holds as dear to her as one would hold a mother and father). I’m oh-so-grateful that she’s chosen to share these intimate details and feelings with me, and she’s allowed me to pass them on.

“I’m sure as a professional in your field you believe that photographs are especially significant, but I just wanted to take a minute to tell you what they have meant to our family.About two years ago my uncle’s health (through a series of events) started to decline. Thankfully he is now doing much better, but it was a very trying time for my aunt. Also, in the process of testing and figuring out a diagnosis, the doctors now believe that he likely has the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. However, this is not definitive and they are coping quite well with this possible prognosis.What I wanted to convey to you, is how precious the photographs you took, especially of my aunt and uncle, have become to us. There was a point when my uncle was not at all himself and my aunt literally took one of the pictures of her and my uncle with them to the doctor and said, “This is my husband. This is who we need to get back.” I remember thinking after I first saw those pictures that you perfectly captured the essence of those two and their relationship. At the time I had no idea how significant that would become.Regardless of any possible diagnosis or outcome, I will always cherish my memories of my family – your photographs really helped to capture some of those memories and document a beautiful part of our life. I mostly just wanted to thank you for that and let you know how meaningful your work is. Especially to us.” 

THIS is why I’m a photographer. Sure, I like to capture all the beauty in every day life, and all the beauty in wonderful life events. But mostly, photographs help us to remember. They help us remember feelings, events, laughs, excitement. I can’t even guess how many times I have looked fondly at a photograph and remembered that day, that moment, whether I was remembering someone long gone or someone who I see every day. I can only guess that most everyone else in the world does the same thing.I can’t even begin to describe how this email made me feel, other than I just sat here and cried. And cried some more. I was able to preserve a happy moment in these people’s lives. One that they really truly hold so tightly close to their hearts. Once, a few years ago, someone said to me, “They’re just pictures.” I feel sorry for him because they are so much more than that. Images are powerful. What I’ve worked so hard to learn and spent so much time doing has value. VALUE. To this one family they weren’t “just pictures.”I love what I do-it’s the greatest job ever.