How My Grandma Taught Me to be a Better Photographer


My grandma is a powerhouse of a woman despite her miniature stature. She’s one of the greatest women I know and continually challenges me to be a better person. Recently my wife, Rachel, and I visited with her (which we try to do weekly… she’s a great cook!). While at her house, she busted out all of the old family albums. You see, my grandma has been the un-official family photographer for the past 70 years. She’s documented the lives of all her kids and grand kids in stacks upon stacks of photo albums. She’s no professional DSLR user nor would she be able to explain the rule of thirds in composition, aperture, or shutter speed. She’s done most of her documenting on old Kodak disposable cameras until somewhat recently when, in 2006, my Dad bought her a digital point and shoot for Christmas (which she still has trouble understanding what the SD card is used for). Never the less, she is our fearless photographer for all family happenings!


The point I want to make here is this: my grandma may not be an established photographer with a stacked portfolio, but she does have a passion for documenting the world for her family to remember in the same way a documentary photographer would. We live in the world of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It’s a world where it’s easier than ever to capture a moment to remember for years to come. My grandma inspires me to continue to capture the world and to highlight all of its beauties and its pains. She challenges me to do it, not for fame or recognition, but because of a passion to remember all of those little moments and to reflect on what I’ve learned in years past.

For all you professional and non-professional photographers alike, keep up the good work of recording our beautiful world for what it is. Be encouraged that your photographs matter. They hold the power to travel back in time to relive and experience the past in the present. My grandma is teaching me to make more photographs, to not be afraid to capture the moment, and to always look back and remember the experiences that have brought me to where we I am today.


This image is in memory of my Grandpa who passed away in 2005 of lung cancer.


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