“Anyone who knows me, knows what motivates me in life: my love for children. There is nothing I value more than the purity a child has within them, and that they express through their unfiltered emotions.
Emotions are truly our most valuable treasure in life. They convey what our heart feels, change our perspective on life and amaze us with how much joy they can bring. And photos can be a wonderful way to encapsulate those emotions and the memories of the events that triggered them.
Ana recorded this special video to accompany her article – but we suggest you keep reading for now and come back to the video at the end.
More is not necessarily better
Photography is of course easier and more popular than ever, and we can all do amazing things with the tiny devices we have with us almost 100% of the time.
But often, those photos are taken in the heat of the moment with little attention, or we take so many that we can easily be overwhelmed by the number of photos we have, and never take the time to look at them. And so these photos, and with them the memories of the emotions they captured, can easily be lost or forgotten.
Sometimes it’s the quality of photos, or lack of, that determines their worth. Maybe we deliberately delete those that don’t meet our standards. Which means that sometimes we are losing precious memories because a photo was fuzzy, out of focus, overexposed, or badly framed.
“Sometimes the quality of photos … isn’t good enough, so we deliberately delete those that don’t meet our standards.”
Could it be that we place too much importance on the perfection of a photo, the clarity, sharpness, pose, that we forget the most important part: the emotion?
The advantage of having professional photos taken is that they succeed on all counts: the pose and setup are balanced and considered, the quality is outstanding and emotions are captured. After all, a professional photographer has the skills and experience to bring together all the ingredients needed for some truly stunning photos. And at the end of the day, you have some real treasures to keep and enjoy for years to come.
To print or not to print
Call me old fashioned, but I still thing the best way to keep photos and to ensure their ‘safety’ is to print them.
Not to mention the joy they can spark when looking through them. Seeing how much our children have changed and grown, remembering how tiny they were in your arms or snuggled into your body.
My most valuable possession is a set of photos I have of me as a baby, only a few months old. Luckily, one of my mum’s best friends was a photographer who loved my chunkiness (trust me, you will see, there was a lot to love!) and decided to have a photo gallery exhibition with one theme: ME.
“For me at least, a house becomes home when I have something that represents a piece of my soul, and these photos are exactly this.”
Over time I moved several times, from house to house, even to different countries. That album and the album with photos of my mum – who is no longer with us – are the first to be packed.
For me at least, a house becomes home when I have something that represents a piece of my soul, and these photos are exactly this. They bring me close to my mum and it brings me joy to see myself as a little peanut. In time, I collected more and more boxes of photos and I love them all. I love seeing people very dear to me, their happiness at the time of the photos.
Recently, my godmother found a photo of me and her mother, who had recently passed away, taken many years ago. It was such a joy to see the photo. Not only because I could see this beloved woman younger and full of joy, but because it brought me back to that moment. My memories of being around here were mostly from when she was a bit older, and in some ways, a different person. But the photo made me remember how full of life and joy she was when she was younger.
“With the photo in my hand, I was able to enjoy this roller-coaster of memories and didn’t want the ride to end.”
That photo brought back memories of how she would spend hours at family parties with us, the kids, under the table enjoying ourselves.
With the photo in my hand, I was able to enjoy this roller-coaster of memories and didn’t want the ride to end.
This is why I believe that through photos, we offer our children a memory of a time long gone.
We give them the clues of how life used to be when they first saw this world. They may not completely picture it, they may not be able to envision that period, because times change, but they will be for sure impressed.
Moreover, during their life, their soul will mature, and new details of the picture will be revealed to them. Once they will be parents themselves, they will notice and understand better the sparkle in a parent’s eye, the tears of joy when a mum looks at her newborn, the pride of parents when their baby turns one and so on.
Bringing out pure emotion
So what are the differences and similarities between those baby photos I treasure so much, and those I take during my photo sessions?
The differences are in the poses, background and other material aspects of the photos. In many of our old photos, the material details didn’t matter so much. But there is one thread that runs throughout: capturing emotion. This is something I never compromise on.
The strength of the emotion those old photos convey is the same as the emotions I try to convey with my photos. Emotions come from the subject of the photo, not from the number of pixels. This is why I try to make everyone feel welcome in my studio, because I want and need them to be relaxed, to feel safe, and to show me their true emotions.
“I try to make everyone feel welcome in my studio, because I want and need them to be relaxed, to feel safe, and to show me their true emotions.”
My goal at each session is: to mix technique and creativity in order to draw out the most emotions and capture the truest photos. No clichés, only people and real feelings.
Whenever I need inspiration, I look at those photos from my childhood, and they evoke all the emotions that I need and help me focus on my true target. I know that I want to create something as meaningful as those pictures that showed a mini-me, a purer me.
I have decided to put my heart in my work; and my heart knows no boundaries. My heart knows no rules. This heart only knows love. This is what I want to share through my photos: love in its purest form.
You know what they say: ‘The beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ and as a beholder, I choose to see beauty in everything and to transpose it in my photos.”
Since the publication of this article, Ana and her family have moved to Sweden! For more Brussels-based photographers, take a look at our page: https://www.thevillage.be/family-photography/