I love taking photographs and sometimes people pay me to do it and that’s always cool. I especially love taking photos of children but am not that keen on adult shoots so when a family asks me to shoot them all I tend to hesitate. Adults, especially women, can be very self judgemental and see all their ‘flaws’. In any case, one family I met through my son’s school asked me to take photos of their kids a little over a year ago, and again this year. And they loved them so much they printed every single one out and bought an album just for that shoot. That was in December.
On Friday I heard via Facebook that the dad of the family had died – at 39, from a heart attack. This man was super fit, and a big wave surfer to boot. Life happens and we can never begin to predict this kind of thing. I wrote more about this man and his life and death here.
Looking back over the photos I took I am so happy that I agreed to take some family photos along with the kids’ portraits. I imagine these images will be treasured by his wife and the children as well as all those who loved him.
On a personal note, it’s interesting the different kind of impact this type of news has on individual people. Take G and I for example. We had had an ugly argument on Friday night and I left him with the kids and went back to my own place to be alone (with my cats. Yes I realise what that sounds like. So sue me). Couldn’t sleep, went online and discovered this sad news. It could so easily be us. G is also a surfer (not in the same league but still) – between us we have two young kids, both of us are in our 30s, thinking we have years ahead of us to work out our shit.
My reaction, apart from shock and deep sadness for the family that were going through this loss, was to want to be with G, to not waste time fighting, but to spend time with him, t be close to him. I drove back to his place and crawled in under the duvet next to him and told him the news (he knows them a little too). He didn’t hold me close, he basically expressed shock, asked how it had happened and turned back over and went to sleep.
His response (he told me today en route to work) was to feel that life is too short to be unhappy, so get out there and live to the max. Nothing about spending more time with the people in your life, just don’t let them or anyone else hold you back from living.
I can see both sides. But for me it’s the people who make living on earth something special, it’s the relationships that matter most.
I thought this kind of news would have made us stop and take another look at what’s important in life, and in a way, it did. But what it also made clear is how different those things are for each of us.