Pittsburgh Photographer: Down the rabbit whole I go... A journey in my family's archives

"If you don't think photos are important, wait till they are everything you have"

A photograph of my great grandfather. Dated 1905!

A photograph of my great grandfather. Dated 1905!

 

I read this quote on Pinterest yesterday and it really struck a chord with me. I am a sentimental person and have always seen great value in family heirlooms, photographs and our collective memory. Luckily I am not the only one in my family. My maternal grandma has been building a collection of memories - photographs and stories, over the years that goes as far back as her own mother's memories of her family and childhood. Stories that sound magical and foreign to my modern day self, which makes them even more special. About 10 (or more) years ago, while she was still in very good health, she took a trip around the country and visited some distant relatives. I believe it was the last time she visited many of those people and places and she did it to fill in the gaps of what she knew about her family. Then she took to writing all of it down and lately - to putting all the family albums in order and labeling photos. I have never seen this memoir and have promised her over and over to help her digitalize it, as she fears her handwriting is getting hard to read. I am very lucky that my gran is also a wonderful story teller and has shared many of these stories with me over the years and I know for fact they are worth wiring down and preserving for my children to be able to read.

My gran is still with us, in good health and spirit, so I am a little ashamed to admit that I have been lazy about helping her with this work. I always told myself that there is plenty of time and while on this trip home I'm a little busy, maybe we'll get to it next time. In the mean time we moved over the Atlantic and my trips home became less and a lot busier then before. 

But my last trip home was a little different. Days before the end of last year my grandfather on my dad's side passed away, 4 short years after my grandmother, his wife, did. And I realized I knew very little about the life they lived before they came back to my home town when I was already in middle school. They rarely spoke about it and I rarely asked. I suppose they just don't have the chit-chatter gene that runs in my mom's family and of course you never really think about the time when people won't be around any more... until they aren't.

Going through the 1920a while sipping on my coffee.

Going through the 1920a while sipping on my coffee.

 

So this January, while home to see my family, I asked to look at my grandparent's albums and oh was I surprised. See, I kind of knew my grandpa was a hobbyist photographer, but I never really gave it much thought, not even when I made the decision to make my passion my business. Yet now that I realize that my love for photography didn't just happen, that it was somehow rooted in my family history, I feel more at home and more connected. Actually he was the one to put my first camera in my hands - and old Exakta film camera.

Photo source: Wikipedia.

Photo source: Wikipedia.

 

And since me and my grandfather didn't really spend time in lenglthly conversations about the past, I am so happy to see that at least it was all well documented. 

Among the photographs, hundreds of postcards from places that have changed completely today.

Among the photographs, hundreds of postcards from places that have changed completely today.

 

Now as much as he was in to photographing his life, he wasn't so keen on labeling and organizing it, so going through his archives will take a little research and I might even need some help uncovering some of the places they visited . 

For some of the newer photos I was able to find the negatives as well, but not too many.

For some of the newer photos I was able to find the negatives as well, but not too many.

So many memories.

So many memories.

10 Reasons to send customized holiday cards to your family and friends this year

Happy holidays portrait

 

 1. Keeps you connected with people you love

 

We all have these people in our lives that we deeply care about, yet never really find the time to connect with anymore - old friends, family that lives far… Lets be fair, life is crazy busy. If you have children and a job, you will barely find time to check the weather forecast for tomorrow, before the day is up. Sending a Christmas card, lets them know that you still keep them in your thoughts, even if you barely find the time to pick up the phone any more.

 

2. It keeps your loved ones up to date with your life

 

Grandma doesn’t have a Facebook account. Enough said.

 

 3. It can serve as decoration

 

People love to display Christmas cards as a daily reminder of the special people in their lives. Send them a custom designed card with pictures of your family taken by a professional. And don’t forget to keep one for yourself. 

 

4. Its easy

 

Book a 30 minute session on a weekend, make a family adventure out of it and receive your cards at your door before the 1st of December, completed with self addressed envelopes. Literally all you have to do is buy stamps. That is of course if you book with me ;) (*shameless self promotion*)

 

5. It will just make someone happy

 

How often do you open your mailbox to find it full of bills and at best a coupon from a store you actually like to shop in? Do you remember the excitement of receiving something deeply personal, something with your name handwritten on it?

 

6. Its a keepsake

 

Did you remember to take family pictures this year? What about last year? Life is racing past and changing fast. Save a card for yourself each year. 10 years from know you will love looking back at the journey. 

7. It keeps your address book up to date

 

An address book? What are you saying, we have emails these days! But think about it - did you ever want to send surprise gift/ card to someone only to realize that they have moved 3 times since you last used regular mail? 

 

8. Its a great way to reflect back on your year

 

You got married? Had a baby? Found your dream job? Finally took that dream holiday? Found awesome new friends? You moved and survived it?

Write it down and acknowledge how awesome this year was. And remind other people to do the same. Sometimes we forget to look back and actually congratulate ourselves for what we have accomplished.

 

9. It's very vintage chic.

 

And you are fancy that way :)

 

10. It will inspire others to do the same.

 

And maybe next your you will get 10 holiday cards in the mail to remind you that you are very loved as well and people are sometimes just very very busy. The love we send out comes back, you know.

 

Casting call: Newborns!

Hello, everyone. 

I am so so happy to announce a model call for newborns! 

I am looking to add more newborn shots to my portfolio, so I will be doing free sessions for a limited time only. This model call is open to babies that are going to be 14 days or younger sometime between the 1st of May and 15th of June.

If you are interested, or know a family that is expecting, and would love to receive a free newborn session with 5 complimentary digital photos, please contact me as soon as possible to book your session, spots are going quickly! 

Since this is a portfolio building session, everyone will be asked to sign a model release. What that means said simply is that I will be able to use the photos I take during your session for self promotion, put them on my website and on social media or submit them in photography competitions. 

In return your session fee is completely free and there is no purchase of photos or products required. You will receive an online proof gallery and will be able to select 5 images for which you will receive the high resolution digital files and a print release. 
 

If you'd like to purchase your entire gallery or order products like wall art or birth announcements, it will be my pleasure to walk you through your options after you receive the photos.