I was recently on a plane ride from New York City back to Las Vegas and as I normally do, I started browsing a luxury magazine to pass the time. There were the normal advertisements and articles on high-end travel gear, stories on fabulous and exotic hotels to stay in, and gorgeous imagery of some of the world's most sought after vacation spots such as the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Being an avid international traveler, I was immediately drawn into the articles and imagery and as many of you, imagined myself vacationing in some of those locales. I flipped page after page, paused to read a caption on an image, pondered what type of clothing I would pack for such an adventure, and continued browsing.
It wasn't until I came across an advertisement for the luxury watch maker Patek Phillipe that stopped me in my tracks. It was a black and white ad with an image of what seemed like a father and son out sailing. The father looked like he was teaching the young son, all of about 6 or 7 years old, how to pull and tie the ropes on a sailboat. It was a typical father-son bonding moment and one the son would likely relive and share with his grandchildren some day of his childhood experiences. But it wasn't the image that caught my attention, it was the tag line in the ad.
Those few words in the tag line resonated with me when I read them, “You never actually own a Patek Phillipe. You merely take care of it for the next generation.” And just like that, it hit me. Although this advertisement was making the correlation of passing down jewelry as family heirlooms, it is just as we do with photographs. Yes, photographs are fun to revel in with the luxury of seeing our images immediately on the backs of our digital cameras, however it isn't until days, weeks, months or years later that we may realize the impact a single image can have in our lives or the lives of our future generations. The way we lived, our mannerisms, our relationships are all captured in pictures and portraits and even though we cherish those now, we are actually caretakers of those images for our descendants. Those are the images that will speak for us when we are gone and share our stories and passions.
Some of you may have noticed my quote on the About page on this website just under my portrait, “Of all the things we pass on to our families, photographs will have the most meaning.” I feel very strongly about capturing images for future generations and when asked what would be saved in case of a house fire, almost everyone says pictures. So just like the Patek Phillipe watch ad states, make a commitment and a choice to capture images of your friends, your families and yourself so that those images can speak for you when you are long gone. But most of all, cherish those images, care for them and protect them as you are only the temporary caretaker until they are passed on to the next generation.