The Importance of Portraits in your Home

Do you think about those who will look at your photos a few generations from now? How will they know who is who? Oral traditions are not what they once were as far as preserving memories. We rely heavily on visual reminders. And now we rely even more heavily on technology. Sometimes it’s hard to remember our own phone numbers! Thank you, iPhone!

This is not the most pleasant thought but here’s the reality: unless you believe in preserving these family memories in an archival print medium, your electronically stored images are more likely to end up in a pile of e-waste than being pored over by a great grandchild one day.

It’s easy to think that we have photos taken just for us. Maybe for a Christmas card or a nice calendar or screensaver. Snapshots are perfect for these applications. But when hiring a professional photographer, there should be a sense that you are not just buying a yearly snapshot of your family, but rather a family heirloom, an artifact of a time in history, something that outlasts technological advances. Something that both anchors us to our past and folds itself into the memories we make in the present.

Images stored on a hard drive or disk are simply not treasured in the same way as portraits that we place on our walls and see day in and day out. The tactile, the physical, the tangible; things that have mass in real space and time etch into our memories far more indelibly than digital blinks. Portraits that we see day in and day out as we go about our routines are the mental and emotional hooks upon which we hang so many of our memories. Not only the memories represented by the moment of the image itself but of that time in our lives in general as well as the memories made in the very presence of those portraits on the walls. 

I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to that can recall the sweetest childhood memories of the portraits they were surrounded by growing up.

“Every day that I went upstairs to my mother’s room, I saw her baby portraits and I saw myself in her. I saw my grandma in her. I felt a connection to the generations.” 

“Mama, is that you?” “No, that is your Great Grandpa when he was a baby!” “But he’s wearing a bonnet!” “Oh, all babies wore bonnets back then!” “He looks like me when I was a baby, mama. Look!” “Yes… he certainly does!”

“I remember playing in my Grandma’s room. I remember staring in wonder at the beautiful portraits she had of her past self on her dresser. Was she ever really that young?”

You see, even the portrait itself is the source of some of life’s precious memories. This simply doesn’t happen with screen-savers and discs.

My clients care about preserving memories in a way that will be cherished and admired even by future generations. Does it take more time and attention to detail? Is it a bigger investment than a Christmas card snapshot. Unequivocally, yes. I spend a great many more hours working on every piece that is intended for display in your home and I will not deliver a finished product until it meets my exact standards.

Sometimes this even means that I need to reject the first or even second run printing. There is a finesse to this that deserves more time and attention to detail than, for instance, Costco could give to you as a consumer with a disk of digitals in hand. 

This portrait photography experience is something I can only do for you if I own the process from the design consult all the way to final delivery of your portrait. From planning and helping you envision your portrait in your space, to shooting, to the order fulfillment process, it’s a huge investment of time and years of expertise into your home environment and the long term preservation of your memories. This is a complete experience, a symbiosis between you and me as we custom create portraits for your home and family story preservation.

Published by Nan

We are not wanderers. We are sojourners traveling together along a broken path, following the one who goes before us into the suffering and into the ever brightening glory.

7 thoughts on “The Importance of Portraits in your Home

  1. This blog post moves me close to tears, Nan. I am so proud of you and the quality of your work. Your writing displays excellence almost as much as does your chosen craft. The years of honing your photography skills has come into sharp focus.

  2. I completely agree with your post. Your examples were so fun and personal and nice of you to share. I worked for photographers for a number of years that taught me so much about how valuable these memories really are for families! – Kaitlyn |

  3. This is so dead on. I absolutely LOVE looking through old photographs from my grandmother’s albums. This is why prints are so important. You cannot rely on technology. I love the older photos you shared!

  4. I love everything about this! I have always said that I don’t take your photos for you, I take them for your grandkids, but I never could put into words so eloquently the idea that you’re getting photos taken as a family heirloom! Great post!

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