Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Capturing Forever on Film

Picture of Teyla thanking God for a beautiful fall day by MJ
"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever ... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything." - the late American abstract expressionist photographer Aaron Siskind

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October 14, Thursday. Rog has just left for work. I have just done the dishes. Teyla is throwing a fit. She is bored with her toys and wants to play outdoors. She stands by the glass door in the kitchen, beating on the glass with her little fists and yelling, "Aw! Aw! Aw!" Baby speak for "out." I sigh, lay the dishrag down, grab my blue hoodie, pull a purple long sleeve shirt over Teyla's head, slip my cell phone into my pocket, pick Teyla up, head for the door. As I pass the kitchen table, I instinctively reach for my old, trusty camera, which I had set there earlier by the fruit bowl. I constantly lug my camera all over the place. I never know when Teyla might do something funny or memorable. If and when she does, I want to have that camera ready.
picture of Teyla reading, by MJ

We step outside. I let go of Teyla's hand and she takes off running down the hill, laughing as she goes. It is another sunny fall day. Perfect blue skies. A dog barks in the distance. One of the neighbors revs up his lawnmower. A little breeze scatters leaves that lay on the ground in colorful little heaps. Many of the trees around our property still wear their red and gold and purple robes. Breathtakingly beautiful, to say the least. But it has been like this all week. I have taken dozens of photos of Teyla running down the hill with her little arms up in the air, a big smile on her face, colorful trees in the background. Nothing new today, really.

We make it to the bottom of the hill. A big, grassy field. Our front yard. Teyla runs around some more. I stand to one side, watching her frolic in the October sunshine. I smile as she babbles to herself. A while later, I yawn. Nothing new to shoot, really, I think to myself. Same old colorful trees. Just a different day.

Then Teyla plunks down under a tree. An oak tree, I believe, with leaves the color of burnt gold. She grabs at some leaves laying on the ground and crunches them in her hands. She giggles. She likes the crackly sound the dry leaves make. She picks up some more. I'm standing there watching her laughing, playing with dry leaves, when I realize I haven't yet shot a photo of her sitting the way she's sitting, under that tree, with the sky so blue above her. 
In a flash, I get down on my knees and start snapping pictures. I can't seem to get enough blue sky from the kneeling position, so I drop to my belly and continue snapping away. Teyla is busy playing with her leaves, lost in a world of her own, and a lot of times, I like taking pictures of her when she is in this state. I don't have to plead with her to smile or pose. She just looks naturally happy. I love pictures like this.

All at once, the wind blows in Teyla's direction. She instinctively closes her eyes, but only for a split second. Just long enough for me to shoot that picture. But I don't realize how it looks yet, not until I download the photos from that shoot hours later.

When I do, I'm very happy with the way that particular photo turns out! Teyla looks just like she's praying in it. And the fall colors in the background are gorgeous! I'm so thrilled that I post it immediately on Facebook. I get many heartwarming compliments. Even an offer from an artist friend in Virginia to make an oil painting out of it! I might just let him do that.

Thank God for the magic of photography! Through it, we can capture special moments on film and rest assured that many years from now, we can view those old pictures and relive those unforgettable times in our lives. I know that someday I will enjoy showing Teyla all the pictures I took of her growing up, specially her "praying picture!" I will tell her of the sunny fall day she sat down in the grass, under a tree, and I crouched on my belly nearby, snapping pictures of her.

Not everyone owns a camera or is comfortable taking photos. And even those who do need someone else to take their pictures, too, sometimes. Thankfully, Richmond wedding photographer is always there, ready to meet our photography needs. Award-winning photographer Ron Stiers has helped many families across the country preserve special memories for more than 25 years. Not only does Stiers take photos in the United States, but he has conducted photo sessions in other countries as well, including Italy, Spain and Mexico.

I read about Stiers today and I believe what impressed me the most about this photographer is the community service he is known for. Stiers provides portraits to poor children and families. He also hosts fundraisers for various organizations such as animal shelters.

It has been many years since I paid a photographer to take my picture. Rog, Teyla and I turn to the self-timer and tripod when we want to take our family portrait and, so far, that has worked for us. But if I had to hire a professional photographer to take our portrait this Christmas, I would pick someone who actually has the heart to help the less fortunate.

Ron Stiers is that guy.

- By MJ
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  1. thanks for sharing this post again MJ, I love all pictures of Teyla, they are super cute, my favorite though has to be the one where she was sleeping with her foot popped up, hehe, so relaxed and so stress-free, of course the one where she looked like praying in that field with the fall colors is very special too. I am sure Teyla will love these pictures, indeed, photography freezes nice memories that we can always look back to, be happy looking back, give us smiles and much more, and if we want it to be more special, we hire a photographer.

  2. what a noble thing to do, kudos to Ron Stiers!
    i just love the "praying photo" so much but the rest are just as great! you did a good job in capturing such precious moments. thanks for another great story and great pics, MJ!

  3. hi Beth, heard your knock at TSS! :)

  4. I share the same thought as well: Photography helps to keep our good memory unfaded.

  5. awwwww our little power ranger pal is so adorable....these are treasures so priceless indeed...

  6. beth, you are most welcome for this post. my pleasure to help TSS once again. so nice to hear you all like teyla's pictures:) i'm sure each of us has our own collection of memorable photos that will bring a smile to our faces when we see them years from now. thank God for cameras and photography!

  7. The first picture is really good.

  8. That is just the dearest picture and the narrative brings tears to my eyes...maybe because my three brutes of sons, all now adults, left me so longing for a little girl! Teyla is so sweet and my first grandchild who arrives in July will, hopefully, be a sweet little girl!!

  9. The pictures of Teyla are adorable. I like the quote by Aaron Siskind, so true how photography helps us to remember the little things.

  10. Thanks for sharing such nice and beautiful photos .

  11. so adorable!

    I too never misses a chance to photograph my baby....I want to keep those memories captured!