People often ask me why I became a portrait photographer. If I think about it, it was really because of my grandfather.
My grandfather was my favorite person. I was lucky enough to live across the street from my grandparents for most of my childhood. When I was young, my family called me “Grandpa’s shadow”. Everywhere he went, I followed. If he was in the vegetable garden, I’d be pulling weeds right along side of him. If he was fishing, I’d be sitting next to him with the worms. If he was working on his truck, I’d be handing him the tools.
Please forgive the quality of this photo. Since the physical photo was lost in a move, the only copy I have is a snapshot of it from my wedding day.
My grandpa passed away in 2001 and I miss him every day. My most treasured item in reference to my grandpa is one candid 4×4 picture of he and I together. We were sitting on the bank of the Rio Grande River. He was kneeling down holding me on his knee. I was maybe 2 or 3 years old. It was the only photo that I had of the two of us together.
I wish I had more photographs of him. I wish I had more photographs of all of my grandparents and all of my extended family.
So what got me into photography? Well, that is my answer. I got into photography because I didn’t want my son to have that same wish later in his life when his grandparents and other family members are gone.
But I didn’t get into photography JUST to produce photographs. I wanted to produce printed, tangible items that my son and his future children could hold, hang in their homes and pass down to future generations. The pictures I have printed and hanging in my home I get to see on a daily basis. When I have visitors, those pictures start conversations and evoke special memories. I can’t remember the last time I took a picture with my phone and then looked at it again, especially on a daily basis.
WHAT!? Yes, I admit it…I, a professional photographer, do take pictures with my phone and yes, I even upload some of those to Facebook and Instagram. But you know what? I almost never go out to those social media sites and look at my pictures. But at home, I can and do look at the ones hanging on my wall on a daily basis. My nine year old son, LOVES to look through our photo albums. He loves to look at old pictures of his aunts and uncles and cousins, and HIS grandparents. They easily bring back an excitement of a particular day when he points at photo and says “Mom, remember how much fun we had this day when we…” or when he sees a photo of himself and wonders what happened to that dancing/singing (and super annoying) Spider-man toy he took everywhere with him when he was three.
I believe that memories matter and that photography is important.
I believe that photography is never just about a simple photograph. It is meant to tell a story; the story of your life and your love. Photography is life’s pause button. It lets you live those special moments all over again because moments are fleeting, memories fade and the details get lost in the shuffle of life. But a photograph, a tangible photograph, keeps those moments of joy and love alive. My focus is on capturing those moments and creating heirlooms that will be enjoyed for years to come.
THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love being a photographer. I want to capture those beautiful memories for us to look back on and capture some of those special moments for others as well.
Crystal Nance Photography | Helena Portrait Photographer | Helena, Montana