Milestones…

Posted on 16. Aug, 2016 by .

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They come and go these milestones; quicker as I get older.  Before my daughter started school, birthdays were major milestones.  Or events, like feeding herself, her first steps, picking out her own clothes (that was interesting sometimes), learning to snow ski, and taking ballet.  These moments were huge.  Once school started, then it seemed like the beginning of the school year became that time when I was always a little melancholy as it marked the passage of another year gone by. DSCF7155

Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the time spent during each of those years.  There were always changes and something new that she was in love with.  It was exciting to hear her tell about her day and what she did at school, or how much she didn’t like the homework, or how she played on the tire swing at recess (an all time favorite activity).  All the while, she was changing and growing into an independent young lady. 63911_10200381196520031_1142317708_n

At the time, it didn’t seem so dramatic.  Each year, she was just a little older, a little taller, hair a little different, a larger vocabulary but at the beginning of Kindergarten, like most moms, leaving her in class that first morning was dreadful for me.  She, on the other hand, was happy as a clam.  Then, before I knew it, she was starting third grade.  I think that’s when it really hit me that the moments had become days and the days had turned into years.  Suddenly, she graduated from elementary school and there we were, already her first day of middle school.  That memory came up on my Facebook last week.581893_10200381201360152_1955650913_n

My dad tried to warn me.  He told me when she was born that I would remember time as four major events – birth, kindergarten, graduation, and marriage.  He assured me it would happen just that fast.  You know how parents are almost always right… well he was definitely right.  We haven’t made it to the last two milestones yet, but when I look back, it seems like everything is a blur. 1922030_10202635600078711_1945575793_n

All I can say is thank heaven that I have Brad to photograph all the moments in-between, portraits that keep reminding me of these memories.  Life is truly a collection of the moments that matter.

Helen Cansler12046812_10207036331254240_1022415578937780369_n

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Sir Spamalot!

Posted on 25. Jul, 2016 by .

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Over the past 30 years, I have had the pleasure of working with the Chattanooga Theatre Centre in several capacities. For the last few years, who can remember exactly how many, I have done all their PR photographs. When they announced they were going to produce Sir Spamalot, I was excited. My daughter, was even more enthusiastic since she loves the show and the music. We have such great vocal talent in Chattanooga so I knew we were in for a treat. With Lindsay Fussell directing and doing choreography, I have been looking forward to the show. On Thursday night I photographed the cast and crew for the Theatre and then on Friday night the family went to see the show. It didn’t disappoint!

If you like irreverent humor, love Monty Python or comedy musicals, then you have one last weekend. It will sell out so don’t wait. Here are a few images from the show.

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You Never Know What Lies Ahead.

Posted on 22. Jul, 2016 by .

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You never know what lies ahead.

Recently, I had taken portraits of my parents, it was their 70th anniversary and my mom’s 90th birthday. It was a beautiful day, lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Mom and Dad have always loved being outdoors. Naturally, that was where we started. Growing up, it was rare for me to see my parents hug or kiss; they were not prone to openly showing physical affection. At one point, I told Dad to take his hand out of his pocket and when he did, he reached down and held Mom’s hand. Mom looked at me and said, “isn’t it amazing that we still hold hands after 70 years.”  I’ll always remember that when I look at the portraits we created that day.  After we completed some storytelling portraits outside we went into the studio to take some B&W’s with old Hollywood style lighting. We teased Dad about how handsome and debonair he looked. Even he was impressed and could hardly believe that the image on the back of the camera was him.

A couple weeks later I received a phone call early one morning, you know the one all children of aging parents dread. My mom had collapsed in the middle of the kitchen. She couldn’t move and was incoherent. Thoughts raced through my mind, all kinds of things flashed rapidly by in a continuous bullet train of questions. “Was she going to be OK?” “Was anything broken?” “Can she talk?” Etc., etc. She was rushed to the hospital, where they determined she had suffered a stroke. She couldn’t get out of bed, was very confused and her speech was not totally coherent. She was doing better by the time I arrived but still couldn’t get around, which considering what my mom is like, always having been exceptionally active, was something very hard to witness. After a couple days, she could get around with help and was allowed to go back home. She has made a partial recovery and is now mobile but doesn’t have the clarity she did.

Often I hear, “I wish I had”, “if only I had taken the time”, “I would give anything if”, “I regret…”, etc.

Every one of these statements, that have been shared with me, are because something has happened to a loved one or families have grown older – either older children or older parents. All I can say at that point is, I understand, we get so busy we forget to take the time. I may hear these phrases more often than most simply because of what I do; freezing a moment in time, making those who age, ageless. Of course, any photograph does that, but what my clients tell me over and over, is for them, the portraits I create not only freeze time but more importantly communicate to all that see them the essence of the people portrayed. Often I’m told when they walk by the portraits of their family, children, or parents, emotions and memories come flooding back. A common statement is,” I feel as though I could just reach out and touch them; it helps me feel close to them even if they are far away”.

That morning, on my way to the hospital, one thought that ran through my mind was, I am glad I don’t have to say, “If only I had…”Cansler_8448294_FBCansler_8448315_FBCansler_8448405_FBCansler_8448389_FB

 

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