The Family Story

This time of year we all try to spend more time with our families and loved ones. It’s also a time when we reflect on the people who are no longer with us. For the most part we rely on our memories and some scattered photographs or home movies.

Mooney family dressed up for Easter. I'm the child smiling.

Some of the fondest memories I have of my mother, father and grandparents are of us sitting around the dinner table, long after the meal was over and listening to the family stories. Of course each person would tell the same story in an entirely different way – the way they remembered it.

Every family has stories – mine certainly does and I have started to collect information, photographs and even recordings of family members while they are still around to tell them. It’s such an easy thing to do with all the tools that technology has provided in the way of cameras and audio recorders.

I often think that as photographers and filmmakers we are not only the keepers of our own family stories but we are documenting the stories for other families through our images, recordings and videos. Here’s a recording of my Uncle Dorlen talking about fishing in Northern Michigan in the winter.

Family gathering at my Uncle "Frenchy's" memorial.

Essentially, we are creating an archive of our loved ones and the memories. And that is the most precious gift that I can give someone through the talents of my craft.

I was recently looking at someone’s vacation snapshots and it occurred to me just how precious those images are, certainly for the people in them and the people they know. I have always taken the family snapshots and have recently started video recording my relatives telling their stories through their own voices, preserving them for future generations.

So think about that – even if you just take out your iPhone or Flip this holiday season, start capturing life’s moments. You’ll be glad you did.

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