Seriously, fellow documentarian, is there anything better than opening your memory card to a photo you made that sets your soul on BLAZING fire, you love it SO freakin’ much? You can’t get it into LR or PS to polish it off + share fast enough. Oh, and, getting it in print? You may as well combust.
That emotion goodness is what keeps us picking up our cameras!
What if I told you that you can EXPAND that feeling? YEP, it’s possible, and I’m gonna tell you how right now.
First: if your total love affair feeling stems from recording important parts of your life, then this is for you. If pictures of something important in your life doesn’t excite you, skip this one.
Here’s a short, relevant story to help highlight:
In 2013, I started to see how my micro-values (the stories that make up our value system) were the core piece in my favorite pictures.
This busy-bodied, fast moving toddler fell into complete stillness when she noticed and locked her attention on the airplane flying above. On the surface, the picture reads (at least, I think, ha) as the beautiful rarity of a still, learning toddler absorbing the world around her, but there’s a deeper layer here — that I feel — that you cannot possibly see from looking at it.
In the micro-moment before this picture, I tapped in big time to my love for her. Like storm surge, I couldn’t stop it if I tried. In that same moment, even deeper than the love: I was taking inventory.
It was that bold awareness of the present that stirred up the loss of past seasons that I wanted to share this powerful love with.
Some people are hyper-aware of the bond between mother + child, the REALness in their life + home, the stories that are often over-looked, and about a zillion other things.
That picture was one of many breadcrumbs that revealed how hyper-aware + sensitive I am (even if I don’t dwell on it) to change.
There’s two things I want to do with that information:
Our pictures aren’t necessarily there to help us remember.
Instead, they’re a way to visually and focally reconnect with something you already remember — something that matters. They’re a way to acknowledge our micro-values that easily get overlooked.
So, I want keep making pictures from this state of mind.
Second, out of sheer personal experience of grief…
I want to give this gift to others I care about and making pictures isn’t the only way to give this gift.
If you’re still with me, here’s where this applies to you:
If you find that your favorite pictures tend to represent a truth in your life / a story you want to remember or reconnect to and you LOVE the idea of giving this gift of connection to others you love, then you’ll love the concept of The Preservation Project.
What is it?
In short, it’s focusing on the WHOLE picture in documenting. You see, that LOVE AFFAIR state of mind from making pictures I talked about at the top is only ONE element out of a 5-Part Framework.
That means, there’s 4 other areas for you can play with! Exciting, right?!
If you’re still not sure…
Here’s 5 ways your Preservation Project can take Documenting Life to a richer level that fuels your soul:
1. To heal or gain closure and peace on a chapter in life.
- Think loss, grief, big changes, divorce, or a void, such as, growing up without a family member.
2. To celebrate + honor a loved one or season in life.
- This is part healing, part celebration, total nostalgia.
3. To get started documenting (or documenting better).
- You may feel like you haven’t documented “enough” or “well enough” for yourself or family. We’ve had some people with kids about to leave the nest, or even, people who have used the camera for milestones + portraits more so than documenting.
4. To dial the documenting-it-all mode in and get intentional.
- You’re documenting TOO much out of fear of missing a moment or the magnetic pull to document EVERYTHING leading to having 27 versions of an image that’s actually not important to you.
5. To tackle the overwhelming documentary clutter.
- There’s photo overload or maybe it’s stacks of kids’ artwork, mementos, etc. – you know you need to DO something with everything you’ve documented + collected.
All that to say:
Playing with all the dimensions of documenting can have big benefits to your life, your relationships, and allows you to experience that “OMG THIS PICTURE” state of mind in more ways than only making the picture.
Wondering how all of this affects the business of documenting life? ALL of the above can fuel how you connect with potential clients. What comes up when you’re tending to your Preservation Project is content GOLD.
It’s the stuff that makes you HUMAN. People do business with people, so yes, this stuff matters. The educational posts and showing them the types of pictures you make are only a piece of the marketing communication pie.
You can definitely DIY your own Preservation Project with those framework nuggets I shared in episode 031 of IDP. Or, get a jump start and join The Preservation Project program. Either way, maximize the potential for documenting your life — learning those framework elements is the first step.