My wife and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary on Monday. At some point this weekend, we’ll pull out the photo album and look at our wedding photos.

Last week, while my mom was visiting, we stayed up late, looking at childhood photos. These pictures — some 30 years old, or older — garnered lots of “ohs” and “ahs” as well as laughter and even a few tears.

These two things came to mind as I edited photos from Rachel’s senior portrait shoot.

Rachel is another member of the Wildfire Coffee extended family. Her father, a regular at the coffee shop, has given us almost daily updates on her difficult decision of which college to attend. As each day goes by and her graduation creeps closer, there’s a little more sadness in his voice as he talks about her. She’s moving away and it’s obvious he’s going to miss her.

I photographed Rachel at Trinity University. We roamed the campus with her dad, and she showed us where she’d go to study with friends. She played in the fountain and demonstrated her gymnastics abilities. As I took the photos, her dad seemed a bit distant. It was as if he was seeing her as a toddler, wondering where all the time went.

It was a good time to remind myself of the importance of my work. No, I’m not saving lives or bringing peace to the world by taking photos. But when I photograph people — whether it be senior portraits, a wedding, or anything else — I’m really documenting history, albeit for a small group of people. The photos of Rachel are not just pretty pictures that shows what she looks like. There’s an attempt in these photos to tell the story of who she is and where she’s going. They are photos that will be looked at in 12 years, 30 years and more. Hopefully witha lots of “ohs” and “ahs.”


4 responses

  1. Beautiful pictures: remarkably essay. It touched me deeply. Made me cry.

    May 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

  2. sorry: remarkable essay. (told you I was crying.)

    May 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm

  3. Karen B

    These are beautiful photos. Your artistry is quite apparent. I know Rachel and her dad and they are good people. I’ll miss Rachel, too, when she goes to college. You have a profound way of completely capturing the story in photos, but you’re words are just as significant in telling the story. Thank you.

    May 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm

  4. Thank you Mark for the artistic photos of Rachel. I also began to cry when I saw these graduation pictures. Especially the one where my brother was walking away holding his little girls hand. She’s a beautiful young women and your pictures captured her looking as if she is about to take off…
    towards her future.

    June 3, 2009 at 4:34 pm

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