On the first day of my workshop, The Family Historian, I share a quote that I wrote years ago. The words carry great weight in my motivation to create my own family legacy.
“none of this was all that extraordinary. just some in between moments that would quickly fade from our memories. yet these moments are the glue that holds us all together as we journey from one remarkable moment to the next.”
Days spent with little ones can linger on like an eternity. And then one day much sooner than we can fathom they push off leaving us reeling. It is as if these times never even happened.
These early days are filled with repetitive acts. Routines lace up our days. And no matter how many times we tie a bow, those shoe strings never stay tied.
We could quite easily spend all these childhood years going through the motions as we count down the minutes until each day is done. Or we could take our eyes off the clock and instead use our cameras to see the beauty of these everyday moments while there is still time.
During class, I teach my students how to reflect on what matters most in their everyday. They learn to see the repetition in a new light. Using not only dramatic light techniques but also creative compositions, my students begin to reveal the beautiful stories that are constantly unfolding in even the most mundane moments.
It is my sincerest desire to create a safe space in which the students can feel at ease to share their vulnerabilities. By opening up and finding their truths, the students learn to pair images of the seemingly unremarkable moments of life with intimate, revelatory narratives. It is through the writing that we connect the dots to see the bigger picture. And what a breath taking picture it turns out to be.
I challenge my students to embrace these vulnerabilities so that they can “show up” in their stories not just through their words but also through their presence in the photographs. These self-portraits often end up being the most treasured of all the family photographs.
The students regardless of whether they were active, silent, or alumni dedicated themselves to finding their own unique voices with which to retell their family histories for the rest of their days. Below is just a sampling of the beautiful “in between” that my students captured for themselves and their families.
Heather Robinson | instructor of The Family Historian