There’s a tiny smudged handprint on my studio’s glass door. It appeared sometime last Fall. My dad has reminded me (more than once) that it could use a little cleaning, but I can’t bring myself to wipe off that little hand. I see it at least twice a day – when I enter the studio and when I leave the studio – and every time, it makes me smile. I have no idea who the little handprint belongs to, but I can tell you one thing: that hand is bigger now.
I am not a mother. I don’t know what it feels like to have my baby grow out of newborn onesies. I don’t know how it would feel to discover my baby’s first tooth. I don’t know the feelings involved in my baby taking his/her first steps. I would imagine happy and sad and terrifying all at once, but I don’t think I even have the slightest idea. I have seen the fierce love between a mother and a child. I have captured it. But I have not felt it.
I am a photographer. I know what it is to watch a child grow through a lens. I know what it is to fall in love with a child’s spirit. I know what it is to tickle toes and bellies and I know what it is to laugh alongside a toddler and giggle with a baby. But… I also know that someday, that sweet child’s spirit will grow up. Their toes will get big and their bellies will lose their ticklishness. They won’t laugh just for the sake of laughing and giggle at a silly face.
And one day, that tiny smudged handprint will no longer occupy my studio door. The rain may wash it away. Maybe a new business owner will hastily wipe it off, without noticing it’s momentary beauty. But… your photographs… the photographs that I have had the honor of capturing for so many mothers… the sweet photos taken inside that glass door… those will last forever.
I am a photographer. And it is not without purpose or reason. I was blessed with a love, a fierce love, for photographs. I was given a painful longing for memories. And it is without a doubt that I was born with a stubborn refusal to say goodbye to moments.
I am a photographer.