Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sandy Hook

I was watching "60 Minutes" recently and they had some parents from Sandy Hook on the show.  They were each showing a picture of their child, now gone, and speaking a little about them.  I noticed that most of the pictures were professional portraits.  Aside from the emotions that I was feeling about these poor people and the tragedy they experienced, I also was thinking, "Nice that they have some professional portraits."

Then, a mother held up a picture of her son, Dylan Hockley.  Professionally photographed, he was wearing a shirt with a Superman logo and beaming into space with a big smile.  She said, "This is Dylan. The picture sort of sums him up perfectly."

I thought, "There it is."  We photographers are always trying to educate people on the value of good, professional photography.  It seems we spend so much time just trying to convince people that what we do is different than what you do when you take a snapshot with your phone. We educate, plead, cajole... "Yes, we say... you need a good wedding photographer, portrait photographer, baby photographer.  Yes... we are worth the money."

"This picture sums him up perfectly."

Think about how many pictures she must have of her son. Thousands of pictures.  But it's the one taken by a professional photographer that she chooses to represent her son to the world. That's the one that she thinks best shows him for who he was... one micr-second of time, frozen forever, that captured who he was.

I don't know who the photographer was... I tried to google it so I could give him credit for the shot you see above.  It's a great image.

This post has been re-written a couple of times.  It's hard to write about something as relatively meaningless as photography in the context of what happened at Sandy Hook.  But that's the way our brains work... we bounce around, we connect to things in a thousand different ways and when you are a photographer you connect to things through images (as well as the hundreds of other ways).  This is a photography blog so I write about photography.  I'm glad she has some great portraits of her son.  I'm glad she has one that "sums him up perfectly."  I wish she didn't need it so much more now than before.