I particularly enjoy doing candids, and for this reason, I like to have my camera (A Canon Rebel XTi with a 28-135mm lens) with me at all times. Just about anyone who knows me well knows that my camera may as well be attached to my hip. I do enjoy doing posed photographs, but my favorites are the ones where people are naturally in their element, and were not necessarily expecting to be photographed.
Below is one of my favorite candids, of my friend Nichole and her daughter Mima. I had spontaneously called Nichole while driving down the Pali Highway in Hawaii (where I'm from), and said I was nearby, with my camera. I wanted to photograph her with her new daughter. Her reaction was, "Ugh, I look grungy, I need to take a shower." But a you can see, she looked beautiful. All the photos just came out so natural and relaxed, we were both really happy. I also got some really nice pictures of her husband, Umi, with their daughter.
I think part of the reason I love taking photographs is because I am keenly aware of how quickly life can change. A few years ago, my father died of a stroke. It was very unexpected and my whole family was in shock. I had assumed that my father would be with me for at least another 20, 30 years (he was just 62). Suddenly, all the photographs I had of him became my most valuable possessions - especially the photographs I had of the both of us together.
For this reason, I really like to take family photos, and pictures of people with their loved ones. I realize that no matter how much it may seem like someone will be around for a long time, there's really no way to tell. Shortly before my father had his stroke, a dear friend of mine lost her father. She called me and said, "Honey, tell your father you love him and cherish him. Life is so short. You want to do this now, while you still have him." I remember thinking Well, my Dad's not going anywhere... I knew that her father was much older than mine (in his 90's I believe), so it seemed more "natural" that her Dad passed away when he did. I figured my Dad would be around for another 20 years at least. Little did I know he'd be gone in less than a year. We just can't predict what's going to happen in our lives, and now I would give just about anything to have another five minutes with my Dad.
This photo is one of my most cherished photos of my father with my nephew, Noa, in Golden Gate park, around 1997. I feel very lucky that I was able to capture the two of them together. Noa is all grown up now, and I am so glad he got a photo of himself with his Grandpa when he was young enough to fit in my Dad's arms! This is how I like to think of my father - like he's up there somewhere, watching over Noa and the rest of us.
I think photographs can help us to keep peoples' spirits alive, so it is a real honor for me to help people and their families create visual memories that will last for generations to come.