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Why Family Portraits Are So Important

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.
-Gail Lumet Buckley

I have lots of snapshots of my family. I have snapshots of me and my brothers and sisters at the beach, at parties, etc. And I have snapshots of mom and dad in various places and times. But there are no portraits of my family with my parents and siblings all together. Both my parents and one brother are deceased, so that portrait of my family can never be made.

The tragedy of not having a portrait of my family, (actually there aren’t even any snapshots of all of us together), is the fact that my children and their children, etc will never know what we all looked like as a family. It’s about lineage and family history. If there are any photographs of my grandparents in existence, I don’t know of them. It’s a shame.

I don’t know why my parents never thought to have a family portrait made, but I sure wish they had. All families are different, and my family completely unraveled shortly after my youngest sister left home. Shortly after that I left the roost, (being the youngest child), and then my parents divorced. No getting back together for a family portrait after that!

Just an hour ago a young family left my studio. The husband is a medic in the Army, and will be deployed to Iraq in two weeks for an undetermined length of time. The wife works for the Army doing outreach and helps those families and spouses who have lost a family member. She determined to have a special family portrait made before he deploys. Her main reason, she said is because she works with bereaved families and knows what their regrets are. One that stands out to her is when the spouse or family has no real nice family portrait to hold on to. She’s not about to make that mistake.

Beautiful, sensitive family portraits certainly portray the family members in the most complimentary way possible, but they also give a sense of the personality of the family, the individuals, and the relationships within the family. The love and connection.

As with many other families, my older siblings left for the military, university, and marriage, and went of to various parts of the world to start their own families. And as many of my clients do, having a fine family portrait created before the children go off to college or other pursuits can bring back the added warmth and comfort to the empty nest. When going about your daily business in the home, you can look at your family portrait on the wall and see the expressions, all the personalities, all the love of and for your family members is called to mind, and warms the heart.

Family portraits also preserve the record of your heredity. Looking at older family portraits you can likely see where you got your nose, or who you inherited your jaw line from, or your eye color, or curly hair. Portraits are a wonderful way to remember your ancestors, and a wonderful heirloom to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

Fine family portraits can give “life” to ancestors from past eras, and give proof to your inherited features. They can fill an empty home with warmth when family members are away. They can bring comfort and preserve precious memories when family members have been lost.

Stan P. Cox II runs a Portrait and Commercial photography studio in Honolulu, Hawaii, and has been a professional Hawaii photographer specializing in portraiture for over 30 years. His web address is: http://www.paramountphotography.com This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

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