June 1, 2009

One to remember and remind

This was one of those assignments that hit a chord with me that will resonate for a long long time... probably forever. I think there are those times that you do an assignment, a project, an event, or take one photo that makes you understand why you do the job that you do. It is not one of the stories you whip out when talking with other photojournalists over a beer about experiences you had in the field, but maybe one of those experiences you share when having one of those private, quiet and personal heart-to-hearts about the profession that we are in. One of those stories that you know made you understand why you do it.

This was a tough one for me. I woke up in the middle of the night one night wondering if I should go for it, and then if I could do it the justice it so deserved. This family was willing to share something so... I can't even think of a word to describe it... that I knew it needed patience and care and quiet. And all that worry for a portrait and an interview. No big deal, right? But this one was different.


This couple taught me something about what I hope to be as a parent should I ever get the chance. They taught me something about the experience they went through. They taught me the importance of bringing attention to an issue, such as mental illness, which is swept under the rug and hidden from public conversation and difficult to get funding to help by insurance. They shared their story with a purpose, and that made me want to tell their story with purpose. It even made me want to seek out stories in the future to continue telling about the issue. And for that I am among the hundreds of people who think of them, will remember, and I thank them.

For more information, go to Faces.

So many assignments we go on we sigh when we get. This one made me sigh too, but in a totally different way. This is a tough time for our industry, for our careers and for our profession. I think it is the perfect time to find those assignments that make you sigh, make you see the person's purpose for telling it, and make you realize why it should be told. Regardless of everything else that makes you wonder why you do it, stories count, maybe some more than others, but they count and matter.

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