My grandma left behind a lot of stuff. A lot. Ninety-two years' worth, to be exact. And in the three months she's been gone, I've watched my mom sift through it all. It's been an overwhelming task (that still isn't over). There have been a lot of tears and many times when the light at the end of the tunnel seemed extinguished.
But amid the chaos have been tiny unexpected treasures: photographs.
Tucked away at the bottom of boxes and drawers, these discoveries have been the motivation my mom needed to keep digging.
There are two of my grandma as a child during the Great Depression, a studio portrait taken when she was pregnant with my uncle, a photo of her boarding a plane bound for New York City and a haunting portrait of my grandma's brother, who died when he was a teenager. There are even beautifully crisp tintype portraits of my great-great grandparents.
Every photo tells 100 different stories, and each helps fill in the pieces of my grandma's long life.
So why am I telling you all this?
I believe in the idea of legacy. More specifically, the idea of photographs as legacy. For me, photos are the most important thing we can leave our children. They tell future generations, "The life and love we created mattered."
Legacy is something I consider heavily when shooting and editing your photos. I look for moments that — decades from now — your children will look at and say, "Look at Mom — wasn't she beautiful?" or "Look how small we were!" or "I can still remember what those hugs felt like."
In other words, I care deeply about what my photography says about you — not the other way around. At the end of the day, your photos are yours, not mine. They exist to tell your stories.
When I became a mom
When I became a mom in April, I knew my son would never remember his great-grandma — the fierce, smart, beautiful woman I had spent so much of my childhood with.
But he was so loved by her, if only for a short time. I'm forever grateful for the few pictures I have of them together — and now, for the pictures of her life I'll use to tell him her story.
What can you do now?
Legacy is something we create now, every day. It's formed by moments big and small — moments that will slip by if not documented.
So grab your camera and start creating. Just start. Become intentional about your family's photography. And when it's time for a family session, I hope you'll give me the honor.
Welcome to the blog! I'm Laura, a Charlottesville-area photographer specializing in authentic, natural-light photography and heirloom print art. Hope you'll explore my little online home and reach out if you have any questions!