When I moved out of my family home a few years ago, my mom entrusted me with all our family photos. Actually, maybe I took them ’cause I felt responsible for them as the photographer of the family; someone who would save them and archive them for future generations to come. I’ve been meaning to scan them for quite some time but never got around to it. Having some time on my hands I decided to load up about 200 photos to start the task and what I found was amazing.

I’ve looked at these photos hundreds of times but for the first time, I really looked at the photos. As they scanned one-by-one and appeared on my screen, I smiled as my childhood memories appeared in front of me. I won’t lie, a lot of them were really bad, Ha! Awful lighting, the glare of a flash, people’s faces cut off and really just your typical family photos but some of them were just perfection. The composition, the lighting and the moment in time captured so perfectly.

It made me think; “Oh I always knew I got my artistic side from my mom”, “no wonder I became a photographer, my mom was a photographer!” Then I thought, “wait a minute, maybe I don’t have a “photographic eye”. Maybe EVERYONE has a “photographic eye” or maybe it’s not a “photographic eye” at all but just an instinct. A gut feeling that you need to capture this moment. It’s not the act of planning what to shoot that will make a photo great but simply being mindful and in-the-moment to capture what provoked that instinct in the first place. Sometimes I forget to be in-the-moment. When I’m working my mind is constantly thinking about what I need to capture and that can be detrimental because I might miss something unexpected.

As I started to adjust white balance, crop and edit any imperfections I found myself dying to write this blog post. We all take hundreds if not thousands of photos a year but how often do you stop and look back and really appreciate them?
I was mad at myself that I never looked at these before but there’s no time like the present. I can look at these and learn from them and the tedious task of scanning old family photo just became the task to archive this amazing photographer’s work.
I had spent years studying art history at OCAD, countless hours looking at other photographer’s works but never looked into MY families art history.
I implore you to do the same.

Go. Find your families photos, if you need help scanning them, let me know! But look at them and really look at them. Look at the art your family created, the moments they captured and use them as reference and inspiration.

I’ve only scraped the surface of our bin of family photos but I’m so excited to see what else I find.

Photographs by Helene Labou. Edits & Colour Correction by Joanna Glezakos using Vengenza Presets.

xo jo

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