I just about leapt out of my chair when Natasha submitted this story about photographing traditions of her parents.
I especially love that Natasha included little details here + there of the home itself. These things, unless you’ve first-hand said goodbye to a loved one’s home, are often overlooked and taken for granted until they’re gone… and you’re wishing for just one more time in your parent’s kitchen.
Homework: When you’re finished reading, take a little time to think + recognize the traditions of your parents or other loved ones. I’ll bet there is more there than you think.
Every single year, the lead up to Easter in my family is exactly the same.
I can go back as far as my memory will allow & I see the same scene from my vantage point on the couch – my parents working together to make the traditional Maltese Easter treat, Figoli.
Always the same: Mum making the dough & the filling, Dad assembling them. Sometimes they work in silence, other times they joke around.
Sometimes they argue.
But always together.
They’ve been doing this since they were married & moved here in 1964. I can imagine that they, too, watched their parents as they made them when they were growing up too.
I’ve taken this yearly event for granted up until recently. Lately, I’m all too aware of time passing – my babies no longer babies, looking down at my hands, & while I’m only in my 30s, I see the changes there too. And my parents are getting older.
It’s taken me this long to see this process for what it has always been, a family tradition. And I wanted to record it. I wanted my family to have photographs of my parents doing the things that made up our childhood memories.
It makes me sad to think that we focus so much on taking photos of the kids, that we often forget to take photos of the adults in our lives. Yeah, they’re not as cute, but they’re just as important (& goofy!).
Documentary photography allows you to break free of the neat little boxes that people like to put you in. You’re not limited to photographing one tiny portion of what makes up your life, your world. That’s part of what I love about it. And to me, documenting my parents is also a part of documenting both mine & my children’s lives.
I really do think it’s something that everyone should do to help capture their whole story.