I come from a storytelling family.
In a way, I think we all do: Families gather around photo albums to hear about the people in the photos that came before our time. We take ancestry tests and build family trees. We sit down at the Thanksgiving dinner table and reminisce about favorite memories as a family. Stories tell us who we are and hand down important information from generation to generation.
My family did all of these things, and from a young age I soaked it all up—and wanted more. During camping trips, my grandpa would tell us "based-on-true-events" stories featuring the mischievous main character "Binky Chavito" ("chavito" being slang for "little boy" in Mexican Spanish). My dad also had a similar tradition later, retelling wild stories of his misadventures as a young adult growing up in San Francisco in the 80's (under the affectionate nickname, "Jefe Von").
By the time we could read, my older sister and I began writing and telling our own stories. We wrote short stories and spin-off fiction based on our favorite movies or computer games. We got a tape recorder for Christmas and began recording audio versions of our favorite picture books (narrated by us, of course). We read ravenously, and often would tell each other summaries of what we'd read after the lights went out at bedtime. By the time I was 12, I was attempting to write a novel, and later decided I wanted to go into the entertainment industry.
Photography is deeply embedded in the way a family tells stories. Photos become precious keepsakes, whether tucked away in albums or displayed on the living room wall. Even in this digital age, my kids constantly run to me asking to see photos stored on my smartphone. "Can we see a picture of my birthday cake on my birthday?" "Can I see baby Ollie?" They love to re-live those moments over and over again, and to hear me talk to them about those memories.
Storytelling is so important for children to develop into who they are within the context of their family history. That's why I don't see photography as a luxury. I see it as honoring and preserving the family legacy—a legacy built from a collection of stories. I see it as returning to a way of life where we prioritize documenting and staying connected to our family as it grows and changes.
Looking back, I can see that God used my background and my interests to specially design me for this incredible job of mine. I'd love to be a part of helping your family tell its very own story in a tangible way. Are you ready?