The Value of Photography

PhotoboothAbout this post

This post is a bit different from my typical portrait work.  These images are from a photo booth I photographed this past summer.  While I strive to bring studio quality work to photo booth images, they in nature tend to more like a snapshot image and differ from my portraiture.  The fact that its a photo booth image isn’t the message being shared today.  This story is a message about the value of photography. 

The Story Behind this Photograph

At the time, none of us knew that this photo booth image would hold so much importance and value.  After all, it was simply a family having fun at a luau themed social event.  In one image, the woman chose to hold the Aloha sign and the man chose to display the “hang loose” symbol.  In the other, the son is displaying the “hang loose” symbol, while they all look relaxed and like they’re having a good time. These are symbols that communicate messages of taking it easy, relaxation, and that everything will be ok.  

On October 1, 2017, this family would endure tragic events that would prove to be everything opposite of hanging loose and relaxing.  They would experience one of the deadliest massacres in our recent history while attending the Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.  The husband and wife in these images were at the festival when the shooting began.  They both would survive.  The wife, however,  would require an extensive hospital stay and after care as a result of the bullet wounds she received from the attack. 

A Common bond

That event would affect me due to a common bond.  I had been in Vegas that weekend attending a separate concert.  Like those at that concert, I was celebrating my love for music by watching one of my favorite bands.  And I was there at the request of the band.  They were touched by a story of mine and wanted to meet me.  The story that touched this band was that one of their songs helped my son and me get through a very intensive labor.  Recognizing that I’m not a medical professional,  I am certain that playing this song during my labor helped stabilize my son’s heart rate.  The data on his heart rate monitor was all the proof I needed.  

While my stay in Vegas that weekend was very brief, I had an amazing time.  So, I was filled with grief and guilt upon learning that so many fellow music lovers who were also enjoying a concert in Vegas wouldn’t have such a positive experience.  Instead, they would have to endure an unimaginable and horrific experience.  It saddened me to learn of friends who had attended that concert and survived the attack.  My heart hurt as I read stories of people I had never met who had died from the attack.  People who were members of my community.  

Remembering This Family

When I first heard about this particular family in the photographs, I immediately remembered photographing them.  I vividly remember our shared time in the photo booth.  It broke my heart to know that one of my past clients had to suffer such a traumatic experience.  Then I located this photo booth image of the family.  While it doesn’t remove any sorrow I have for this family and all other families affected by the Las Vegas shooting, it reminds me of the value of photographing families.  I gave this photograph value by providing this family with an image of their family during happier times.  Something they can value and cherish.

The Value of Photography

The powerful message they are communicating within the photograph serves as a message for us all.  Life is precious and not to be taken for granted.  What is here one moment can be gone the next.  We should enjoy life, make memories with our loved ones, and remember to use the power of photography to capture those memories on camera to keep the memories alive.  

Thinking of the Aloha spirit this family embodied in this image, I decided to look into the meaning of Aloha.  The word Aloha means more than the statement used communication hello and/or goodbye.  The spirit of Aloha is taken to mean the joyful sharing of life energy in the present.  As this family’s photographer, I get to remember them for the joyfulness they shared during the time this image was taken.  I get to remember their desire to live life in the present.  I know that is what they, and so many other attendees at the concert, were doing before one individual decided to take upon himself to wreak havoc on so many innocent lives.