On Not Photographing My Mom
I picked up a camera in 2008.
And I laid my mother to rest in 2010.
Guess what I never got around to?
That’s right – I never created a real portrait of her before we said goodbye.
Back then, I knew I wanted to be a portrait photographer. I was starved for subjects.
And after 12 years of fighting Leukemia, I knew she was on borrowed time.
There was no reason not do it, except one.
Avoiding the portrait meant avoiding the inevitable.
I didn’t want to admit the clock was ticking.
So here I am with plenty of candid shots of her, but not one real portrait.
On Photographing My Dad
You just read about the biggest mistake of my photography journey.
Luckily, there’s a happy ending to this story.
I refused to make the same mistake twice. So I’ve made a point of photographing my father.
When I’m shooting candidly, he’s got an uncanny knack for completely ignoring the camera:
And when it comes to actual portraiture, I hit the jackpot with my Dad.
Because he always says yes.
When he’s so tired from working that he can barely stand up, he says yes.
When he’s upset because a loved one is in the hospital, he says yes.
When he’s just cranky because he didn’t get enough sleep, he says yes.
And I know why.
Us Comeau men, we’re not always the best at sharing our feelings.
But sitting down for a portrait lets us connect.
We talk, we laugh, and we bond.
Here are some of favorites portraits of my Dad from over the years:
And finally, here’s a shot of us together:
Yep, that just about sums up our photo sessions, no matter how serious the pictures come out!
Happy Father’s Day
You’re reading this on Father’s Day for a reason.
Because you have one mission to complete by midnight: create a portrait of your Dad.
Yes, you can get your snapshots in at the family barbecue, but your assignment is make a real portrait of your father.
Sit him down for 5 or 10 minutes, and photograph with intent. Walk away with a portrait you’ll treasure 20 years from now.
Don’t have a Dad? Fine. Grab your spouse, sibling, child, pet, whatever. They’re all important.
Listen, odds are, there will be another day for a portrait.
There probably will be time?
But what if there isn’t?