There is absolutely no doubt in this world that I love what I do, being a photographer is part of who I am. But upon deeper reflection recently I came to realise that there is another reason why I very passionately care about documenting your family, and why I think that sharing these beautiful artefacts with your loved ones is so important.
To help you understand my ‘why’ a little more, here is my story.
Just 2 weeks before my 19th birthday, I pulled into my driveway to find my little brother get out of his car in front of mine and almost fall into a heap on the ground, uncontrollably crying and wailing. I jumped out of the car knowing something was very wrong, ran straight over to him, and through a flood of tears and sobs I heard four words that would change my life – “Dad has been killed”.
It was a punch to the guts. I couldn’t breathe. It was as if all of the air had been sucked out of my lungs. The first thing I wanted to do was to go and find Dad’s photos. All I wanted to do was to see his face, and remember him. I just sat and sobbed for hours, staring at his photos. I was craving the memories of the connection I had with him, but there were so few photos of us together.
We had moved to Papua New Guinea about 15 years ago, but after about 18 months when I was 7 years old, my parents divorced and we moved back to Australia. My Dad decided to stay in PNG so my visits with him were limited to about once a year. My brothers, sister in law, Mum and I headed back to PNG after his death to do the incredibly hard task of packing up his entire life and bringing him home. Once we were there my Dad’s friends and colleagues shared so many little anecdotes of the man that they knew, and loved. I tried so hard to soak up as many of these little stories as I could so that I had something to hold onto, something that was meaningful and not just the physical belongings that were left behind. The most memorable story for me was of a very large security guard (who worked at the supermarket that my Dad managed) fighting back tears as he told us about how my Dad was teaching him how to speak, read and write English. These stories and the little images I had of him kept his memory alive. When my children ask me one day about who their Poppy Dennis was, I have something that I can share with them. But how much greater would the impact be if I had an album full of photos and memories that I could show them? Something tangible that showed my family (who never had the pleasure of knowing him) my relationship with my Dad, his quirks, and his gigantic heart.
I have now made it my mission to make sure that I do this for my own family, so that my husband and I exist in photos with our children. More importantly to you, I’m making it my mission to make sure that you exist in photos with your significant others, too. I’m asking you to trust me to create something for you that documents the love and unique relationship that you have with your family, so that you have a record of your love to look back on. I want to capture all of the little things – the laughter, helping your children tie their shoes, reading them their favourite bedtime stories, holding them tight, and picking them up when they fall. These are the little pieces of my childhood story that are missing, and slowly those memories fade.
Now you’ve heard my story, will you let me tell yours?
Click here to learn more about Story book sessions.