Sometimes we put things off so many times that the act of delaying that thing becomes automatic. âIâll get to that thing tomorrowâ, and tomorrow comes, tomorrow goes, and that thing never gets taken care of. I fell into that trap, and the thing that kept being put off was taking portraits of my parents.
âI really need to make some portraits of my parents,â I would say, âbecause at some point I wonât be able to do it.â
Iâd say it over and over and put it off again and again. My wife would say, âYou really should do this. You should,â and Iâd say, âYeah, I know. I totally know. If I donât do it soon, then I might not have the chance again.â
I read about photographer Angelo Merendinoâs âGoodbye at the Doorâ series. Again, I told myself âdo it. Do it now.â I see this article was from 2014. Again I put it off.
My father is now 85. He recently had congestive heart failure and a week in the hospital helped yank that procrastination out of my stubborn brain and stuck it directly in front of my face.
âIf I donât do it soon, then I might not have the chance again.â
I would make up dumb excuses: âMy dad is hard to get along with â he wonât want to do it.â Or: âMy mother hates having her picture taken. She definitely wonât do it.â Or âThis week isnât good, Iâm really busy with workâ and so on. And so forth.
So, a few weekends ago, I finally did it. I had my parents come to the studio and made some portraits of them.
They came, they brought the dogs (because Heaven forbid I donât take pictures of the dogs), and, surprisingly, they were good about it. It was pretty easy. They did it because I asked. They did it because they want to be around after they are gone. This is one small way to keep them with me.
I took some individual shots, and I nabbed a few of them together (with the dogs of course), and even when I was just looking at the unprocessed proofs I was getting emotional. Because family.
Iâm making this a public service announcement to not only other photographers but to just anyone to please, please take the time and photograph your parents. If it gets put off for too long, the chance wonât be there any longer. You owe it to yourself, and while what I took wonât win any awards, they are some of the most important photographs Iâve ever taken. Because when they are gone, this is what will be left to take solace in.
To everyone: Please donât put it off. If you havenât done it, do it. Now. Iâm calling all of you to task. Do it because they deserve it. Do it because you deserve it.
About the author: Sid Ceaser is a studio and location photographer based in Nashua, New Hampshire. He specializes in band and musician publicity, press kit and promo photos, as well as headshot photos for people in entertainment and business. In addition to shooting he also teaches workshops and runs a podcast with designer Dave Seah. You can connect with him through his website, blog, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.