Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Women as Master Storytellers

Women are notoriously good at multi-tasking; their plates are piled so high it would make any waitress nervous. They are mothers, daughters, sisters, employers, employees, problem solvers, community members, missing teddy-bear locaters and sibling-rivalry negotiatiors.

It's a shame that none of these jobs warrants hazard pay.

You’re juggling more balls than a circus performer, and the idea of occupying yet another role seems just shy of masochistic.

However, you do have another role and maybe you’re already aware of it.

This role is incredibly important and has power, beauty and joy in it. The actions you take today in this role will be felt for years to follow, and you will touch more people than you can possibly know.

For those in your family and those you consider friends, you are also a master storyteller. The photo industry refers to you as ‘the photo ambassador’—the person responsible for taking, sharing and printing the family’s photographs.

You may not feel like a master storyteller, especially if the love you feel for your digital camera dissolves the moment you try to print the photos or get them sized the right way to send through email. But it’s true. With that camera in your hands, you aren’t just taking a picture. You’re preserving a moment in time. That photograph, and the story behind it, is of extreme importance to others around you, even if they don’t know it yet.

You might think that those candid shots you took at the end-of-year school picnic or at your son’s last baseball game are fun reminders of a particular event. They are much more than that—they serve as a map, a chronology of their life experiences—a way for them to relive those wonderful times and friendships whenever the mood strikes. They are a way for them reconnect with good times gone by

And you are the chief architect in this legacy. You don’t have to be a professional photographer; in fact, you don’t have to consider yourself to be a good amateur photographer. The critical thing is to make sure that you’re taking pictures of special events and those every day moments that cause you to take pause. The fact that you’re taking pictures at all makes you the master storyteller, and I ask you to consider expanding this role a bit because the gift you’ll give your children through these tangible, visual reminders will follow them through their lives and give comfort when they’re looking for a way to connect with the safety of childhood memories.

You are a master visual storyteller. What you do today will resonate countless times and give you new opportunities to reach out and bond with your children as they grow. You’ll relive those stories about that fabulous kite festival, the time your son caught his first fly ball, when your daughter caught her first butterfly. You will hold those moments in your hands and offer those photographs as stepping stones to revisit past joys. Those stepping stones will always lead them home.


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