Life is a story told from many different perspectives, ultimately weaving together the many big and little moments that represent each of us. Photography is a loom which weaves these moments and connects heart to vision. As a fine art and portrait photographer, my job is not only to capture the moments where everyone is perfectly in place, but to capture the little moments as well. It is not only the posed bride and groom, but the expression of a small child in the wedding party. It is the family portrait where time stands still, but also the child who answers the door in skivvies, cape and mask with a light saber tucked in his belt. Our life stories often reside in these little moments more than the big.
From the first instant a potential client reaches out to me, we form a connection. In order to capture what my clients embrace in their everyday lives, we discuss what means the most to them, what they hope their children will learn from them, and what is their favorite family moment. I ask them to fill out a design session sheet that asks them, “What is your favorite place to be all together? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? What is your favorite color?” If they open up to me, I can enter their world.
When it’s time for their session and I am invited into their home and their lives, I notice the rain boots or flip flops on the porch, the sleepy pup, the child running down the hall to tell her parents I have arrived, and the exchanged glance between a husband and wife. These raw, real moments are vital pieces of their story and I am the storyteller.
After the session, I create a video of my favorite edited images and deliver it to the family and leave it with them overnight, asking them to jot down which images first pop into their mind. These images, usually about ten or so, are likely the ones they love the most because they resonate with them.
Now begins the biggest question—how best to preserve and showcase the images that best tell their story? In this difficult moment, my professional direction and guidance are essential.
I first encourage all of my clients to choose the one image they wish to be an heirloom and make that the centerpiece of their home. But there will always be other images they feel they can’t live without. This is where I suggest an album… something tangible that can sit on a coffee table for friends and family, especially children, to view again and again. Although beautiful wall art is one way to capture and present our most priceless images, albums are an essential tool to chronicle my client’s stories.
For my purposes, I have found Serendipity Albums to be the perfect steward of my clients’ images. Serendipity’s co-founders, Eric and Alice,
are both professional photographers who care as much about the story I’m telling as I do and they are from Texas. It is important to me to support local friends and entrepreneurs who offer something above the rest.
In these beautiful, hand-crafted albums, we mix formal, photojournalistic, color, and black and white images. I include these albums in my collections of fine art prints, a la carte prints, albums or books. They can also be purchased individually and, oftentimes, people will purchase an album for themselves and a smaller book for a grandparent or other family member.
Serendipity also created a unique and special album I offered for sale at my recent fine art exhibit, “Texas Trees, Sky & Sea,” an infrared exhibit of Texas that became an 18-month-long project. As I travelled from Corpus Christi to Big Bend and everything in between, I captured hundreds of images including dreamy trees, racing clouds and reflective water that inspired me. A unique album from Serendipity with a custom embossed cover, simple design and layout, and impeccable attention to detail was the perfect choice for this unique collection of fine art.
Storytelling in photography must be carefully done from the moment a photography session begins until a client’s children’s children can turn the pages of their family story. From newborns, families and seniors to fine art exhibit projects, I find that albums are an essential product with which to create my photography’s legacy. Of the big and little stories that make up our lives, I always say the little moments mean the most.
Renée C. Gage is a Master Photographer from Corpus Christi who employs her photojournalistic talents to tell the stories of her subjects with elegance and whimsy. She has received numerous professional accolades for her outstanding imagery including the International Loan Collection and the MPPA Kodak Gallery Award. She began her photography career in 2001 and continues to build an extensive clientele around the world, capturing and preserving life’s rich beauty and the little moments that mean the most.