Document Your Days {For Future Generations} | Photography | Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Document Your Days {For Future Generations} | Photography

"Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them."
 - Elliott Erwitt

The little girl in the image at the start of this post is my Mum. She's about 4/5-ish in this photo. She sits on the floor of someones lounge room, playing. There isn't a lot to giveaway the time and date of the photograph save the old-school fireplace & TV she's sitting next to. She sits the way Punky often sits now when she is playing.


My Grandfather was a keen photographer. I'm sure he wasn't the only one, as my Mum had a big box of old photos that I used to love looking through when I was younger. The photos range from the mid-nineteenth century right through to the 70s and 80s of the 20th century.
My Grandfather, and chief family photographer

Some photographs, particularly the oldest ones, are typical of the era they were taken; posed, stiff-looking people with no smiles. Those photos give the impression that the people in them were very serious but that is never the case, it's simply a by-product of the fact that early photography required a person to sit still for a very long time in order to capture and expose the photograph sufficiently.

And then there are the photos that so perfectly capture a moment in time, the personalities of the subjects. They give me a glimpse into what the people in the photo were like, how they lived their lives. These photos are precious. It's amazing to look at these photos and see one that looks like my Aunty when she was a young woman, but is actually my Grandmother's Aunty, taken a good 20 years before my Aunty was even born. I can see where we get certain aspects of our looks, where we inherited our talents and even our names.

They capture the history of my family and I'm so lucky to have them. To be able to show my daughters as they get bigger. Both my maternal grandparents died before the girls were born and it really kills  me some days that they will never get to meet their granddaughters. I know my Grandma in particular would have loved meeting Punky, seeing the similarities of personality and talents that they share.
My Grandmother, about 5 years old, in the late 1920s.

Punky may never get to know her Great-Grandmother the way I knew her, but I at least have these old photos to show her, and my memories of her to share. Looking at old photographs of my Grandmother, whether taken by my Grandfather, my Mother or others, I see the woman she was, her cheeky spirit and how much she loved to help people.

She dedicated her life to helping others and through these photos and old documents her memory will live on in my girls and with a bit of luck, their children and grandchildren too. They'll have these old photos and the stories that go with them, giving them a glimpse in to their history and the people that made them who they are.

It's for this reason that I document our modern history. So I can continue the story for my family to come, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond. They'll see the images and get an idea of what life was like in the early 21st century. They'll be able to see where they come from and learn that no matter what the time or era, some things never change, while other things will never be the same.
My Mum & my Aunty, proving that even 60 years ago Santa photos were a thing!

I document my family not just so that I can look back on those photos and remember what life was like at any given time, but also for future generations to see where they come from.

Do you have old photographs of your family? Do you wish you had more?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT


If you're looking for a qualified, professional Sydney Family Photographer or Hawkesbury Family Photographer be sure to check out my professional site at



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