Our archived images go back to 1978. Each year, we get about 20 or more women who want to review their images from years ago – sometimes right back to the early ’80s.
Sometimes it’s a man that requests to see her images, but we have real strict, unbendable policies on this: they can’t. No matter who they say they are, they can’t. The only exception is if our client has signed a revocable by her permission form that allows them to do so – only then can they.
She hadn’t signed the form at the time of the original shoot, but did come by to sign off on it now. He was grateful and thrilled that we still had them. Most studios – very few, actually – archive their images.
When he viewed them, he was very moved. He explained it was a pristine time in their relationship. Her images were 20 years old. He had forgotten that he was in a few of the shots too. Her experience that day in 1994 changed her, got her in touch with her potential, found her boldness. He said it was hard to explain how much it had enriched their relationship, how she had blossomed from it. He believed the effects of her session that day were still resonating within her.
A few months ago, a single mom came in to see images of herself with her newborn baby. She had bought what she could afford as a single parent 24 years ago, but she had never forgotten the rest of the collection over the years, and now she was going to own them.
They gave her such a great connection to her past and her daughter, who remains the apple of her eye. Those images represented her journey, the start of it. She still glowed when she talked about her daughter. We printed them on stone for her, slate, with the organic texture giving the black and white images such depth.
Our style is timeless. We have done very few of the gimmicky or strange trends over the years. Still, ’80s hair is ’80s hair. Despite that, the images hold their charm – their connection to who the woman was in that moment way back then.
Sometimes the request goes back just a few years, but even then there is often profound changes the experience heralded for the client, that they want to keep as a touchstone to their “moment”.
As women keep coming back to claim more imagery, we are reminded how much of a right of passage the experience was for them. How much the session effected them. I asked one client, Sherry, why. She smiled as she said, “It was time to see who I was back then.”
Tracy is a client who comes back fairly regularly; often she will look at her images from her first session then have me recreate it with her. This collection has resulted in a very interesting transition showcase.
Every time we dip into the past for a client, I am glad that we have archived all our work. It’s a powerful record of the shared history we’ve been honoured to have with our clients for nearly 40 years.