• Photos By Laurinda

Why I value family photography...

I wanted to share a little about myself today and my why. Why I believe capturing meaningful family photos is so important.

I know this is a little long but please bear with me!

I am a fairly private person and not used to sharing a lot about myself but I feel it’s important for you to know who I am, the key moments that have shaped my values and why I am passionate about photographing families.

I grew up in the 80’s and we had a small point and click film camera. Film and processing was expensive and while we always had what we needed we weren’t a well off family and at times my parents struggled to make ends meet. Yet they always took plenty of photos.

Rob was my older brother by 18 months and he was born with Muscular Dystrophy. He had the worst kind which was terminal and was diagnosed at 5 years old. Looking back as a parent myself now I guess that is why my mum and dad took so many photos. I didn’t know until I was older that he was not expected to make it past his teen years. My parents valued the here and now and they recorded it because they knew the disease would slowly take away Rob's independence. So they took plenty of photos, recording lots of special, fun and crazy moments of my brother and sister and I as we grew up.

My brother was 30 when he passed away, 11 years ago now.

Afterwards it struck me quite hard that he would never be in another photo again. At some point we had taken the last one.

I am so thankful that in the era before everyone had a camera in their pocket, we always took plenty of photos and we have many pictures to look through and remember him by.

In 2008, the year before we lost my brother, I had my first baby, a little girl. While I had taken many photos of life before that point, like any new mum in the digital age I started photographing every moment like crazy!

By the time my second baby came along in 2010 I had realised just how quick these little people change and grow and what a short amount of time they are actually babies for!

At the beginning of 2011 with a 6 month old and an almost 3 year old I started a photography project called Project Life. It was a commitment to taking a photo every day for a year to capture and record life at that time. Kids, routines, what we were eating, games we were playing, park outings, new shoes, anything really…but it was a photo a day for one whole year and journaling a small amount about the photo each day. I wasn’t sure if it was something I could maintain for a whole year but something about documenting and recording these early years of so much growth and change with the kids really appealed to me and I knew I had to give it a go.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. The creative in me relished the challenge and I found new ways of looking at our lives and routines through the camera.

I loved it and it started to become a form of therapy for me in a way.

When I started Project Life we also happened to be going through a stressful and traumatic time with our six month old little boy. He was not developing as he should and after extensive testing he was diagnosed with a very rare genetic condition called Pitt Hopkins Syndrome causing severe physical and intellectual delay.

Our world was being turned upside down as we faced a very different life ahead of us from the one we had planned.

Throughout this incredibly challenging time I continued to photograph each day. It gave me a positive focus and highlighted all the small joys still in our lives as we worked our way through our grief for the future we had lost, acceptance for what was to be and never ending medical appointments.

This year is my 10th year of project life; of taking a photo and recording our life in some way every single day. I love that I have captured it all, our family's highs and lows and so many details and small memories that would otherwise be forgotten, all recorded.

After some time we finally decided we would have one more baby to complete our family and my last babe was born in 2014. My children are now 12, 9 and 5 and are quite used to a camera being thrust upon them most days!

Then two years ago life was turned upside down again when I lost my dad in a tragic accident. It was very sudden and he was only 62. He was there one minute and gone the next and again I was hit with that brutal, sad realisation that we had taken a last photo without knowing it was the last. Never ever would there be another picture with my dad in it.

Although we have many, many wonderful memories they do fade and become distorted over time.

It’s the photos that trigger our memories and keep moments fresh in our minds, preserved exactly as things were.

In sifting through all our photos from the past, the ones that mean the most to me aren’t the pictures where everyone is smiling nicely for the camera. Instead it’s the photos that were taken when they were oblivious to the camera, that capture a feeling, that speak to me. The natural laughs being caught up in a moment, genuine emotions shining through. These are the photos that capture their true essence and are the ones that I treasure.

Family is everything and It brings me such great joy creating images that capture true connection for families. Recording real moments in photos that cement not just faces but feelings in memories forever.

Life is precious, we only get one and it passes us by so quickly.

Capture it while you can.

Laurinda x