On Loss, Grief, and The Importance of Photographs

Today I am going to be talking about something much heavier than my usual blogs - loss & grief. 

I grappled with if I wanted to share these thoughts publicly, worrying it would be seen as me cashing in on a tragic event to gain website traffic, blog views, and all that. But I can’t stop thinking about it so I must write, and hope that it helps others realize the importance of photos at other times, besides milestones like weddings, births, etc. So, here we go. 

A couple weeks ago I got news that my step grandfather had passed. It was something we knew was coming, but still hurt nonetheless. If I am being honest, I have never been great at processing difficult emotions, I struggle to allow myself to feel and express sadness, but this loss hit me strongly, I just wasn’t sure how in the moment. I quickly realized why a couple of days after I got the call, as the funeral was being planned, when my step mom asked me to share the photos I had taken of everyone over the past Thanksgiving. That’s when it hit me. I had taken the last set of professional photos of my grandfather before his passing. To me, that realization was both wildly terrifying and incredibly validating to me. Knowing that the art I produce could potentially be the last photos of a family member honestly freaks me the hell out, and makes me feel such pressure to capture every moment and every detail perfectly. But alongside that fear comes empowerment and a reminder that what we do is SO important, even if we may not realize it in the moment. 

To think that these photos that were done on somewhat of a whim ended up being so meaningful and important amazes me, and makes me so happy we did them. Processing this event has really reminded me that photos shouldn’t only be done during major life events, but minor ones as well. And sometimes, just because. You never know what life might throw at you; making and capturing memories as often as possible is so important. And I don’t just mean professional photos, either. Take pictures on your phone, hanging out at home, on vacation, or when visiting family. Just. Take. Photos. 

Rest in peace, Larry. I love you.

Keira Hand