There are times in my life when I realise how damn fortunate I am to have the family that surrounds me. I know not everyone is as lucky and I really wish they were because when life gives you a bump, family can be there to catch you.
When I think about where my first interest in photography came from I think of my mothers family room wall. She loves putting up photos of her growing family around her home, and this wall in particular is filled to the brim with framed photos. There's weddings and family shots, 1st and 21st birthday portraits, and photos of loved ones that have passed from our lives. My mother loves her family and this is a shrine to all that she holds dear. You cannot help but glance at all those faces every time you enter the room and they watch over us during our many and varied celebrations.
It was one of those photos that always drew my attention when I was growing up in that house. I was only a baby when my mother had a professional photographer capture a photo of me with my three older sisters. Its a close cropped, black and white photo done in the wonderful age of film. We are huddled in together with our heads gently touching and my sisters all have perfect small smiles to match the feel of the image. That one photo intrigued me so much. How did that photographer capture our tight bond as sisters so well? I so wished I could take a photo like that, but I never thought I had the skill. Its that photo that I'm striving for when I spend nights up late watching youtube tutorials or drag my children out for another impromptu photo session (poor things!). I don't know who that photographer was but he is my inspiration.
And then something happened to make me appreciate and treasure all those photos even more.
Two days ago we found out that while my parents where away a man decided to break in and take up residence in their home. He made a mess looking for money and jewellery and then set himself up in our family room. But he mustn't have like all those faces looking down on him and removed every last one from that room. Everything that reminds us of family in that room was thrown carelessly in a pile away from sight until the room was bare with just furniture.
Thankfully we think the man is in custody, but seeing that room without those photos and mementos made me realise how bare a life would be without family. And I am so lucky to say my life is far from bare.
Due to distance I was unable to help restore my parents house but my three sisters and their partners got stuck in returning everything to its proper place before my mum and dad returned last night. They did a fantastic job and even though there is some broken glass and scratched photos, every frame was returned to its proper place. And my mothers home became hers again.
So I will continue taking photos and build my own little shrine of wonderful people that I call family.
Good night everyone and keep safe.