I feel as though we see what truly matters in our lives in much the same way as we drive through rain with windshield wipers: looking past the perpetual motion in order to move forward. Its not the firsts that parents think of wistfully when they say “it goes by so fast” but the lasts. The last time he was small enough to fall asleep in my arms or the last time she wanted you to walk her to school. Many cameras flock to the firsts: first steps, first birthday and first days of school. Rarely do we photograph the stages that feel like forever when we’re in them only to shift the moment we blink.
What I like about photography is that it stops motion. It freezes time and lets us hold it. If we don’t like what we see we can change it. But if we love what we see it lets us love it more.
What I’m hoping is to harness some of that motion stopping power. Life isn’t perfect. Parenting isn’t perfect and our decisions aren’t always perfect. But love is. Love is the one perfect thing we are all capable of having and knowing and doing. Loving what matters is all that matters. And that’s my job as I see it: to show you what it looks like. Your job is to get in front of the camera. Which can be hard to do.
What if the wall-worthy photos, the ones that hang in your house, were to teach your children that they don’t have to look, act or be perfect to be loved? Family life is rarely lived with all members looking in the same direction. I’m going to roll with that. If you have the courage, I have the camera.
Mel Worthington is a freelance photographer based in the Washington, DC area. She earned her MFA in Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, has exhibited her artwork nationally and is a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellow. Her passions include spending time with her family, being outside, old-world crafts, advocacy and wearing super bright lipstick.