Last week I heard through the grapevine that a man I know had passed away. He had been sick for a long time and finally it caught up with him.
His illness had reached the point where he needed to go into hospice care. He packed light, not taking much with him as he left the house for the last time. On the way out the door, his wife asked him if he was sure there wasn't anything else he wanted to take with him. He stopped, turned around and went back in, emerging with a photograph of himself and his grandson.
I shot that picture.
A few months back the family hired me to take some portraits. We decided to do the session in their home for convenience. In addition to a collection of posed family portraits, I also took some candid shots. One of those shots was purchased and framed and eventually carried to hospice.
I meet a lot of people who want to be photographers. Many of them ask for my help and I try to teach them what I've learned. Most fall away soon after realizing that there is a big difference between photography as a hobby and photography as a job. The commitment and training required to do it for a living is usually far beyond what most people are expecting. (this is especially true of wedding photography)
But the rewards can be great.
I've had the biggest hugs from brides when they see their wedding images. I've had a grandmother leave the room because she was overwhelmed by pictures of her grandchildren. I've had a dying man take my picture with him to his final destination in this life.
The rewards can be great indeed.