The death of the snapshot {nj child photographer}

If you’re like me, (Gen-x adult, pre-digital age) than your personal photographic history is in the form of a snapshot, the ubiquitous 4×6 or 5×7 shiny Kodak or Polaroid print stored in a box somewhere in your basement. Maybe you dig them up every so often for #TBT or maybe you just like to look at them to remind yourself how thin you were when you thought you were fat or how young you looked when you thought you were old. No matter your reasons, there is nothing like a crappy, often unflattering snapshot to bring us back to certain points in our lives.

My own boxes have survived several moves, a flooded basement, 2 hurricanes and a near constant level of deteriorating moisture. Some of the pictures are faded. Some are stuck together. Sometimes I don’t recognize the people in them and sometimes the pictures dredge up painful memories of regret. In a few I am thin as a rail, in others not so much. But these pictures catalog my past, dividing it into stages — high school, college, my NYC years, marriage and my first child, people I’ve loved and those I’ve tried to forget. At some point the pictures stop. It’s not that I stopped taking them. I just stopped printing them. Digital media (hard drives, CDs, the cloud), ephemeral yet seemingly endless, became the method of choice for storing my memories.  Beautiful, artistic images might adorn my walls but the common, everyday snapshots  never see the light of day.

When my brother and I were young we would hole ourselves up in our parent’s closet and pore through shoe boxes filled with pictures they’d amassed over the years. We’d laugh at ourselves as babies — my chunky baby self filling the frame — and appreciate the elegance of our grandparent’s wedding pictures. There were moments we could recall with absolute clarity and many we didn’t but we knew this much:  here was our history.

Pictures — the good ones and the mediocre — connect us to our past as much as our future. So what happens when that physical manifestation of our history disappears and all we are left with are the pixels we can de-encrypt from an outdated phone? If you doubt the possibility let me remind you of some of the natural disasters of recent years. Destruction is not just possible, it’s inevitable. Facebook won’t be around forever. At some point most of us will be forced to live in an analog world — even if only for a few days .

I am a photographer so I take lots of pictures. I take some with my work camera and I take many with my Iphone. My Iphone pictures are uploaded to a dropbox and stored on my hard drive automatically through the cloud. A backup program runs quietly on my computer and uploads my hard drive data to an off site backup server. It’s a nice process and quite seamless. Most people don’t even go that far. I cringe when people tell me how they store their valued pictures on a DVD, a mostly obsolete storage method. These days new computers aren’t even sold with a DVD player so given the rapid rate of technology change, DVDs will soon be as archaic as a floppy disc. You would think we would learn but we rarely do  — until it’s much too late.

My challenge before the end of the year, to myself and everyone out there, is to resurrect the snapshot. Print those mediocre IPhone pictures — the ones you took of your kids on the playground. Put together family albums — they don’t have to be perfect and it’s really never been easier. You can design an album of instagram photos using a Blurb book. Artifact uprising makes some really nice and very affordable albums and I love their tag line: Inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible. And how adorable are the mosaic albums? You can download the app directly to your phone and print those iPhone pictures directly from your phone. It’s as easy as sending a text.

If you don’t want an album, then print some cheap prints at shutterfly or snapfish or my personal favorite: mpix.com. Foxgram.com prints instagram prints and they even sell a cute little album to store them. But it doesn’t matter whether you display them in frames or store them in a shoebox somewhere in your basement. Printing them gives them meaning and value. Sure a snapshot can get ruined but try losing a whole childhood of pictures when you carelessly drop an unbacked up external drive. I promise you the latter is much more  nauseating.

My children love to dig through my boxes as much as I did. They ask questions. They want to know if that’s me with the funny/big/red/blonde/ hair. I love that they see value in my past and I hope they will carry on the tradition of documenting their life, even if it’s only for themselves.

snapshots

Twitt
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Before and After — Tewksbury baby photographer

It’s not always easy to capture your child’s stages on a regular basis. If you’re like most busy parents, it can be hard enough making time to see the doctor when you’re sick — regularly scheduled portraits can be the last thing on your mind. But then the years speed by and the next thing we know, the sleepy little newborn nestled in blankets is a speedy little toddler racing around the house.

We are all overloaded and on the go. If you’re like me, you look at your calendar and wonder when you will have a free moment to eat dinner before racing off to another activity. Between the endless activities, school work and sports, free time is a luxury. We do our best to capture what we can with our phones and personal cameras — the soccer goal, their first school play and the rest we store away in our memories.

As quickly as this summer came and went, so do the early years of our children. Memories are poor albums. Iphone pictures rarely leave the hard drive. It may not be feasible to schedule sessions to capture all their milestones but if you can make the time, I recommend it and not just because it’s what I do for a living. The older I get the more I value my printed history. It’s not just my story now. It’s my daughter’s story and my son’s story and our family’s story and it will only live on in pictures.

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Twitt
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Class of 2015 — nj senior photographer

A few weeks ago I had the chance to photograph this gorgeous Oak Knoll student for her senior year. I don’t get the chance to photograph seniors often but when I do I love it! This beautiful girl brought along some special items to include which made the session even more fun!

If you are looking for a nj senior photographer, make sure you contact me!

NJ senior photographer

NJ senior

NJ high school senior

NJ high school senior

Twitt
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She’s got the cutest little baby faces! {Oldwick baby photographer}

I couldn’t pick just one look for this little girl. I had so much fun with the faces she made for me when we played peek a boo. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. If you’ve never been to the town of Oldwick in Hunterdon county, I highly recommend it. It’s a quaint little town right off I78 filled with antique stores, a great farm for apple picking and lots of rolling hills. A short drive north and you are at one of my favorite places for cheese — Valley Shepard Creamery!

A note on Fall booking — I am off to a brisk start this year and have very few weekends remaining in the early part of the fall. If you are interested in a session, please contact me as soon as possible for your desired slot. I will be limiting travel as well but I am happy to introduce you to some of my favorite local spots!

Adorable baby

Oldwick NJ baby photographer

Twitt
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