Ashley Newman Photography
I have been holding on to this post for about 2 years. At the time that I took them, I had this deep sense of urgency- something inside was stirring and it tugged at my heart with an intensity I could not ignore. I sprung the idea on my grandmother pretty randomly, and she reluctantly agreed. I am so glad she did.
I rented a dress for her and told her to meet me in a field. The moon was full and visible in the sky. And it would be a lie if I told you I didn’t cry while taking her photos. For me, feeding that deep desire to make the pictures happen was such a beautiful, almost out of body experience- I felt like I was using my gift to preserve our family legacy. In fact, I feel that way about every family I shoot- but this was somehow primal.
During the session she told me she was old. Our eyes met and I told her she was beautiful.
I asked to take a photo of her hands and the told me they were wrinkly. I held them to my face and said I loved those hands.
I told her to put her hat on and she joked it was to cover her gray hair. I laughed and put her on a rock overlooking the field because all I could see was a damn icon standing in her power.
Looking at them now is hard.
My grandmother is still here with me but I feel as if so many things have changed since these images were snapped.
And that is where my heart rests looking at these photos 2 years later. I have them hung in my home. I see them every day. But writing about them takes me back to that day and the nagging feeling I have now been able to identify as guilt and loss and regret.
I didn’t want to look back and regret passing the chance up. No one is promised tomorrow and I don’t know a single soul who regrets having pictures done.
I suppose this is a long post to encourage you. To refuse to hold back from documenting your legacy and your family. It is a beautiful thing you are working on and it is every bit as worthy of being documented in a beautiful way.
When I see these there is a slight burning of sadness, but there is also so much pride, love and respect here. So do the thing- rent the dress, dance with abandon holding the one you love, and don’t take a single moment of it for granted.
Honor your family with photos.