{What the Heck is Documentary Photography, Anyway?}

When I talk with people about what type of photographer I am, they kind of look at me with a bit of a side eye, like - 'documentary photography - hmmm, what does that mean?’

And it’s totally cool because I realize how self-explanatory the other genres sound. Newborn photography, wedding photography, portrait photography, maternity photography - they all make sense.

But hey...what if I told you I could do all of those things as a documentary photographer: a candid storyteller?

Come with for a little bit...

Let’s talk about the last time you sat back and took inventory of what was playing out in front of you. What were you doing? Who were you with? What was happening?! I want you to recall what you thought to yourself. Was it anything like, “man, can this NEVER end?” or "wow, that was the best day EVER!!"

Were you sitting around after a Sunday dinner listening to your parents or grandparents tell stories of the world that came before you as the whole room looks on in awe, hanging on for the next chapter of the story?

How about having one of the last conversations with or holding the hand of someone important to you as they transition away from this life? Loss happens - and it's okay to never want to let it.

What about watching your children dress up like tacky superheroes who absolutely believe they can save the world by running in circles and jumping on things - with their full belly laugh and toothless smile. Are you there with me?

I know you have been at some time or another -because we all have.  It’s a natural part of who we are. There come these tiny golden moments that fill you with pure emotion as you watch your life play out before you. It makes you swell up inside so big you can only do one of two things...smile...or cry.

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Either way, it’s THAT moment.

That is what documentary photography is about. That is what I do. I capture those real life moments that are so powerful, yet often mundane. Moments that can be hard to verbally express. It may be just the ordinary day to day but somewhere deep inside there is a piece of you that realizes - before long this moment will become MORE THAN A MOMENT.

Maybe not today, but tomorrow you will recall the gem that will have passed. And then there is no way to get it back. That moment will never exist again. This is why I document.

If you are anything like me, you have many of these moments pop up in your life. There are times when something like a loss or big change jar me into a reality and remind me to pick up my camera.

Children coming into this world and growing up by the second.

A generation getting older, forgetting the family legacy.

Dear souls clinging to life.

Documentary photography is about learning to encapsulate the raw emotions, feelings, stages or phases that are fleeting into an image or video. As the family being photographed, you can freely participate in your world without interruption. You can experience the moments as you naturally would without being told where to move or how to act. You are free to BE and DO you!

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Documentary photography gives you the power to invite a photographer into your world to share what is real and important in your neck of the woods. I mean honestly, don't you want to? 

It’s pretty darn amazing! 

So the next time you hear documentary photography mentioned, know that it is not A Netflix original with serious music and tense story lines. It’s YOUR Netflix original - all about whatever moments, milestones, and family history you can’t stand to let disappear - however small or simple.


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Now Tell me...

What is your story? I’d love to know about those moments that you won’t allow to slip away after today! Please share in the comments below.