Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around a box. It wasn’t just any old box, but it was a box full of memories. Every time I visited my grandmother’s house she would let me pull her big box of photographs from the closet. She would play along as I questioned her for hours about who the people in the photos were. There were aunts and uncles and cousins that I had never known. A little girl that I recognized as my mother and a large portrait of a young lady that existed in another time. Long before the years brought wrinkles to her face and her hair turned to gray, my grandmother, a woman of meager means, made a priority of existing in pictures. She did her hair, put on her nicest dress and made her way to Petrie Studios on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. She had a portrait made that we now treasure.
As I grew up this fascination with photographs continued. It eventually led me into a career as a photographer where I live to capture portraits that will be passed along for generations to come. Not long after my father’s mother passed away, my aunts, my mom and I gathered at my grandfather’s house to go through her things. We took what we wanted as keepsakes. I found an old box of empty picture frames, high up on a shelf. That’s when I found it. Lost in a box of old, empty frames was a portrait of my grandmother. She was young and beautiful. It was that moment, standing on a ladder in an old closet that I finally realized why everyone thought my dad looked so much like her. I saw his eyes looking back at me through hers in that photo and the same little smirk.
To have these photos to sort through at my nostalgic leisure and display on my walls is a privilege. I was born in 1983. Long before digital became king and most of America stopped printing their photos. I’m a photographer. I reverence the importance of pictures highly and can also be found as guilty as the next person for not printing them like I should. This is why I have begun to reinforce the importance of the print with my clients. And no offense to any retailers, but I am not referring to the drug store print kiosk. While it definitely has its place and serves its purpose, I will forever encourage you to purchase professional prints of yourself and your family that will last like the ones my grandmothers purchased over 60 years ago that are still fully intact and gorgeous.
My grandmother recently passed away and we once again dove into the box to retrieve the archives of her life. We found the portrait that I have seen so many times over the years. I heard my mom say, “This is how I remember my Mama…”
Some days we may not feel beautiful. We may not have showered in two days and we’re wearing the same sweatpants we’ve had on for the last three. But the ones who love us, the ones who really see us and our true beauty don’t care. They see our eyes that shine when they walk into the room. Our hearts that break with them when they are broken. They see the love in you that would move mountains and cross rivers for them if needed. And when you’re gone, they will hope and pray for just one more glimpse of you. When they stumble upon an old box packed away in a closet somewhere containing a beautiful portrait, they will rejoice and say, “This is how I remember my Mama…”
Yes, this is my business, but it is also my heart and my life’s purpose. To help you see yourself through their eyes.To help them remember your love, your smile and the laugh that is uniquely yours, even when it is nothing but a fond memory.
This is why I do what I do. In a world where we take more photos than ever before but have fewer to actually hold on to, I am asking you to stop and consider when was the last time you had an actual photo of yourself to pass along to your loved ones.
#KeepMomsInThePicture with Atlanta Area Moms Blog Contributor Photoshoot
Seven Atlanta Area Moms Blog contributors took part in a special photoshoot in hopes of encouraging readers to keep moms in the picture. Next week we will feature their individual stories. In the meantime, we are encouraging readers to #KeepMomsInThePicture by posting photos (that include you) to social media. Be sure to tag @AmandaDukePhotographyy and @AtlMomsBlog. Don’t forget to use #KeepMomsInThePicture. Check out the photoshoot here!
A special thanks to the following for making the afternoon possible:
- Amanda Duke Photography
- Summerour Studio
- Elizabeth Sloan Beauty
- Ginger Rose Flowers (those crowns!)
- Cakes by Anna.
- Underground Runway
To hear another woman say, “You guys, I haven’t felt this pretty in a really long time!” made my heart over flow with gratitude and joy. Trust me, it wasn’t about the makeup she had on or the dress she wore. It was the value of the time she had chosen to invest in herself and the confidence you could see she felt in that moment as a result.
:: Special Offer for Atlanta Area Moms Blog Readers ::
Amanda Duke Photography is offering you access to a special portrait event (over 50% discount) for two days only, March 10 and 12, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Book your session here. Availability is limited so book your session ASAP and help your family #keepmomsinthepicture.
For information on Custom Sessions or our “Mom’s Day Out” events, contact [email protected]