My Photography Heroes: Mark Shaw Capturing Everyday Life

 One of my photography heroes was Mark Shaw.  Anyone who knows me will certainly see a bit of him in my work.  I believe in simple pictures that capture simple moments....the kinds of moments that change and disappear with time.

Mark Shaw was a Life Magazine photographer and it shows.  With a journalist's eye he captures moments that speak to us all.  Children being children, rather than posing and smiling for a Sears portrait.  These are the kinds of photos that are so meaningful to me personally.  These are the days we forget to capture on film because they are so routine, so ordinary.  In time, I find them among the most valuable.

For me, the ordinary is almost more special and important than the big events.  Yes, I will always love weddings and birthdays and big celebrations....but I wish I just had more photos with my dad on the beach.
Jackie Swings Caroline with a Young Kennedy Cousin Looking On, ca. 1963

I recently saw this photo for sale at a local gallery.  I wish I had the $5,000 to buy it. (Please feel free to buy it for me!)  To me, this image is timeless and universal.  I remember my dad doing this with me.  I wish I had a picture of it.  I would settle for these two strangers, who feel like people I know.

I take photos like these for my clients, because I know deep in my soul that in 20 years from now those same photos will be absolutely priceless.  I take the photos I wish I had of my own life.  They aren't the most original or clever photos you ever saw.  I don't go Photoshop crazy.  I don't make people hold strange objects.  I let kids run, and swing, and giggle and cry.  We play and have fun (and yes we get that 'perfect' shot for the Christmas card!).  Mom and dad get involved.

I realize just how extraordinarily lucky I am to be invited deep into the lives of my clients (who I universally think of as my friends).  We are creating history together.  We are growing up together.  Every year, I feel like my photos get more valuable,  particularly the ones I took ten and twenty years ago.

Alex giving Olive some love.
Rarest of them all: my family in Shiraz, Iran 1970.  Posed, but barely so.
Wish I had more of these! 1970 candid and perfect.

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