I read an interesting blog post by a fellow photographer (unfortunately, I can’t remember who it was) and I could not have agreed more. It expressed my sentiment so well that I wanted to share it with you.
Choose the Right Investment
A lot of times, you hear the word investment used loosely. You have time investments, emotional investments, and of course – financial investments. Now everyone agrees that stocks and bonds are an investment, but is photography really an investment? I might be a little biased, but I think it is a wonderful investment.
Let’s say you had an extra $1000 sitting around the house and couldn’t decide how to spend it…I know, a good problem to have! Obviously, there are tons of options for you to choose from, but I’d like to just narrow it down to three.
Fun with $1000
The first option would be something Dad would love – a 50” plasma TV for the den. Weekend football just got a whole lot better! Depending on how much television you watch, you could get a lot of enjoyment out of this over the next several years.
Another option would be something Mom might vote for – a new sofa for the den. You could pick out something very traditional or maybe a really cool, trendy piece that will change the look of your den.
The third option would be a portrait of your family or your kids. Lets say they are 16 and 18. You decide on a nice canvas portrait to hang over your fireplace – something that goes beyond what they look like and shows their personalities.
Ok- you’ve made your choice and all three are working out splendidly. Every day you walk through the den and admire your darling children on the wall. In the evening you relax on your new comfy sofa and watch some television on the big screen. Life is good!
Fast forward 15 years – a reasonable time for any investment. The sofa isn’t doing so well. It is showing the signs of age with a few stains and small tears. You will likely drag it out to the next garage sale and pray someone gives you $25 for it. By the end of the day you’ll be hoping someone just takes it for free – just to get it out of the garage.
Unfortunately, the TV isn’t faring much better. In fact, it is highly unlikely you still have it. You have probably already replaced the television you bought to replace the original 50” unit. If you DO still have it, you would probably be hard presses to get $25 for it at a garage sale.
The portrait however, is a whole different story. Your kids are now 30 and 33 – they have moved away and started their own families. Instead of seeing them every night at the dinner table, you now see them everyday hanging over the fireplace. If someone showed up at your home and offered you $25 for that portrait, you would laugh. Heck, someone could offer you that original $1000 back for the portrait and you would never take it. Why? Because you can always buy new sofas and televisions. Once your kids are grown, however, you can’t buy portraits of their childhood.
There just aren’t too many things you can buy today that will be guaranteed to be worth more to you in 15 years than they are today. A beautiful portrait of your family will never go out of style. In my mind, that makes it a wonderful investment.
What do you think? Have you had similar experiences? Leave a comment and let me know!
In honor of my daddy - Gary Markham
The most interesting thing happened to me on Friday. I still get chills when I think about it so I decided I should share this one.
It’s Fathers day today and I know many of you have lost your dad’s. So have I. My dad passed away too soon. He was only 70 years old and I hadn’t really had enough time to spend with him. It’s important for you to know this little background before you read the story.
My parents were divorced when I was 18 months old. My mother moved out of state with me for many years to put distance between me and my father. When we returned to Virginia, she made every effort to continue to keep me out of my father’s life. I did not really get to know my dad until I was in my twenties. It was my choice then to reach out an find out just who he was and to get his side of the story. I had a thousand questions for him.
Now why he never tried to get in touch with me in another story all together but that’s not what this story is about. This story is about what amazing things can happen with the powerful love between a father and his daughter.
This is a miracle story to me – in more ways than one. See if you don’t agree once you read it.
A friend of my father’s, called me Friday and said “Cathy, I ran across a letter you wrote your dad for fathers day, years
ago, that he kept and I thought you might like to have it.” It was dropped off at my studio that afternoon and even though I didn’t sit down and read it until later that night I can tell you it had a profound effect on me.
As I unfolded the faded and yellowed sheets of paper, it became obvious to me that my father had taken great care to preserve the letter that I had written to him back in 1979. You could see it had been typed on a dot matrix printer (some of you will know what that is). I could see the tear stains on the paper but I honestly can’t tell you if they were mine or his. It didn’t really matter. I knew in my heart that my words had touched his heart very deeply – otherwise he would not have saved the letter over all these years.
Even though I’d love to share every word with you (not sure you’d want to read it all) I’ve decided to share just a small part of what was in the letter…
When I was a little girl living with Mama away from you – I remember when friends would ask me about my father. I remember taking a very deep breath and very proudly telling them about you. It usually went something like this:
My daddy is a very strong and kind and gentle man. He is proud and smart and has a strong sense of family. My daddy, well, you know, he’d move a mountain if it needed to be moved. And he can make the sun shine just by saying it’s so. My daddy doesn’t live in our house. No, he lives in my heart. And whenever I need him I know he cares because I feel it – here in my heart”…
I bet I said those words a thousand times in my youth. I grew up in a time when divorced parents was an oddity not the norm as it seems to be today.
I went on to say “It took me nearly 20 years before I had an opportunity to spend any time with you.
And I am so grateful for the time we have together. My love for you is difficult to express. Even this letter
is hard for me to write. These feelings are very deep within and like most things with deep roots – they are hard to surface but are steadfast and strong. These feelings have weathered many storms, many battles, many doubts. In my lifetime, I have fought many things and many people who have tried to keep you out of my life and I have always prevailed because we have a bond. The bond that only a father and a daughter can know”
The letter goes on from there but just remember, I did not really know my father. I had spent little or no time with him. This was the man I had imagined in my head and in my heart. This was how I dealt with the profound loss I felt by not having him in my life. And it comforted me many times over the years to simply think about what kind of man, I just knew in my heart that he was.
I have recently been dealing with some difficult things and I have been missing my father even more than usual because I knew he would always reach out and help me be strong. He had a way of believing in me that made me rise to the occasion. He truly was my bridge between failure to success many times and I needed him now.
Then what happens?
This letter reappears in my life. As if my dad had a hand in making sure I knew he was with me – even now. It was a voice from the afterlife. A strong and loving voice – encouraging me to continue.
I can hear my fathers voice just as clear as if he were standing before me saying “Cathy, everything’s going to be okay. Remember, we are Markham’s, we are strong and we don’t give up. You can do this babe – you can get through this!”
People ask me all the time what my license plate means (It basically says “I expect it”). I always say it means I expect all things are possible. After receiving this letter (a voice from the past to today) I believe it even more.
Do I believe in miracle’s y’all? Yes in deed I do – they happen every day but often when you least expect them.
Please share this with family and friends.
You never know who it might touch.
You never know who might need to know that our angels are among us and they love us still.
Meet Dr. Clay Weisberg and Boots
Fourth, in my series of families in business, will catch you by surprise I think. Not only have I met a young man who joined his father’s dental practice six years ago but I also met – another member of the family – sort of.
I am of course talking about Dr. Clay Weisberg and his beloved dog, Boots. Boots is a Portugese Water Dog who was born on March 7 – imagine that – a Pisces, just like me – I like him even more. Clay and Boots are both very interesting and friendly and just as sweet as they can be but I probably should tell you about Clay first, huh?
If you visit the website of the Weisberg’s dental practice and take a look at Dr. Clay’s credentials and all the groups he is a member of, it would be easy to think of him as an over-achiever. If you were to dig a little deeper what you would find is a young man who is passionate about the profession he has chosen and a desire to excel in that career. Not only that but by having included Boots in his life and training him as a therapy dog, you are suddenly aware of Clay’s love of people and a compelling need to help others.
Dr. Clay grew up in his dad’s office (like so many children of entrepreneurs) and he loved the experience. Not only did he attend the more obvious schools for someone of his caliber (Norfolk Academy, Brown University, Medical College of Virginia and then his post -doctoral degree at the University of Florida) he also had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. This was an amazing opportunity for Clay especially since he is an avid kite boarder.Australianot only provided an exceptional education but also was an awesome place for this young man to enjoy his favorite pastime. Clay says that kite boarding helps bring balance to his life. And I’m sure Boots would agree because when they are not working at the dental practice they love to be at the beach, kite boarding for Clay and paddle boarding or playing fetch for Boots.
What an adorable pair they are. Clay’s disarming smile will put you at ease immediately and Boots sweet manner will make you feel at home right away.
Visit them for all your dental needs. Be sure to ask about the arrangement we have made with them for a portrait session from my studio and teeth whitening from this friendly and amazing dental practice that is a great reflection of families in business today.
I enjoyed my visit with Dr. Clay Weisberg and had the opportunity to meet Boots while doing so. When we discussed a portrait session for this blog post I knew it simply had to include Boots. Enjoy the video of Dr. Clay Weisberg and his wonderful dog, Boots.
Boy, we know what that means don’t we? From infancy through adolescence, teens, young adult and mature years we all need and want to be feed. One of Americans favorite past times is eating out – at all ages. All you have to do is visit any restaurant and you will see and hear all ages there – enjoying the food, refreshments and company.
Eating at the dinner table back in the 50’s was the thing to do. It was a time to catch up on the activities of the day and to simply share one another’s company. Then the next 20 or 30 years changed things in our lives. Our lives became so filled with all types of activities and busyness that sitting down at the dinner table together just became more and more challenging.
Then 911 happened.
families become closer
Suddenly many of us began to think differently about our lives. We began to re-evaluate the time we spent (or didn’t spend) with our families and friends. I think we began to appreciate quality in everything in our lives – including the quality time we spent with our family and friends.
The busyness of our lives did not slow down but the choices we made changed. We found a way to gather at the dining table to share our daily lives once again but we were too tired to cook or forgot how to cook (that would definitely apply to me) so what did we do? We found our favorite restaurants with really good food and an atmosphere that felt welcoming.
All this leads me to the third article about families in business. One of my favorite places to gather with friends for good food and refreshments and deserts is JoJacks (http://www.jojackscafe.com/). The staff is so welcoming and the food is really fresh and good AND on just about any given day you might find Renee and Dan’s (the owners) two children Jackson, their son and Jordan, their daughter working side by side with their parents. It warms my heart every time I see them there.
Recently I was there and little Jordan was helping out by wiping down the tables and refilling the cup supply for mom and dad. She was so cute – she looks just like a little Renee. Jackson (who looks an awful lot like his dad) was behind the counter taking orders for lunch. Both of these kids had the biggest smiles on their faces. They were happy to be there. It reminded me of my childhood working with my mother in her hair salon, sweeping floors and shampooing her customers. I loved being in the business with my mother – it made me feel like an important part of our little family.
Most people think that working for your family is cushy and fun and easy. That was not my experience at all. My mother had high expectation for me and I was taught to do things the right way and to be polite and friendly to the customer.
She did not cut me any slack! You could see these same qualities being taught to Jackson and Jordan. As busy as I could see mom and dad were, you could still feel their parental eye on their children and their desire to teach them how to take pride in their work and how to do their best.
I hate to say it but taking pride in what you do and working hard for what you have, rather than expecting everything to be handed to you on a silver platter, is very rare today. We adults have created a generation of children who have an attitude of entitlement rather than having to work for what they have. We all want our kids to have more and better than we had growing up and frankly most of us are in a position to be able to give our children more than every before. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. I always wanted our son to have every opportunity in life to succeed and be happy and for many years I thought giving him everything he wanted was the way to accomplish it. Let me just say, I was wrong. We got lucky. Our son is kind and gentle and he has learned (the hard way) that he has to work for what he needs in life.
When I visit JoJacks (JordanJackson – get it J) I love the welcoming feeling I get from the staff, the owners and their children. I applaud the parents for trying to teach their children responsibility – “real life” for “real people”.
Visit JoJacks for lunch or dinner sometime and tell them they’re doing a great job and to keep up the good work.
One of my greatest joys in my business is being able to photograph families, just like the family of JoJacks oh yes and sharing a meal with family and friends there.
My second article in the series of “Families in Business” is going to come in two parts. I had the opportunity to meet a father and son in business together. And it was a pure joy talking to them both. I chose to photograph them separately (for the blog) because even though they work together – they have very unique stories apart from one another.
I am speaking of the father and son dental team – Dr. Jeffrey Weisberg and Dr. Clay Weisberg.
Let me tell you Dr. Jeffrey Weisberg’s story first – after all it was he who started the practice and worked hard to build it up over the years.
Practice, practice, practice
Dr. Jeffrey has been married 37 years – that in itself is quite an accomplishment in today’s world. I also had the chance to meet Shelly, his wife and let me tell you, I could instantly see why and how they have managed to stay together for so long. It was apparent to me that they are still in love after all this time together. They also have two sons – Zach and Clay.
Shelley owned “The Dance and Body Shop” for many years and it shows. Shelley is a strikingly beautiful woman.
Zach is the genius behind “The Inertia” –The Definitive Online Surf Community – (www.theinertia.com) The Inertia features surf news, commentary, art, and photography from the global surf community’s most prominent and talented figures.
Clay is in the dental practice with his father. Clay and Boots what a pair they are – more about them in a subsequent blog article.
Back to Dr. Jeffrey for now though– his story is very interesting to me. I’m always fascinated by what has inspired someone to go into a particular business. When Jeffrey was 10 years old, while tumbling around and wrestling (as little boys will do) with his brother – his two front teeth were knocked out. Can you imagine? A visit to the dentist to see what needed to be done was in order. Back in the 50’s – an appointment with the dentist usually was horrible and this visit was no different. Jeffrey never forgot that experience either. In fact, it was many years later, when he finally got into college, that he visited a different dentist and discovered that it did not have to be so traumatic. Not at all – things had changed a lot in 20 years. This new experience peeked Jeffrey’s interest and he never forgot the change in the way things had become in dentistry.
Jeffrey originally majored in Economics in college. After returning to school in the summer he took a biology class and decided to change his major. It would be something in the medical or dental field for him. Dentistry it was to be. And from what I hear from his patients – it was the perfect field for him. He is a very good dentist- with compassion and caring for his patients. What a difference from the dentistry of the 50’s.
Jeffrey and Shelley love to play golf and I couldn’t really get either of them to tell me who is better at it but I think if you watch the little video of them on the golf course, you may decide for yourself.
Even after all this wonderful information about Jeff, and how he got into the dental field, the thing I walked away with most after meeting Dr. Jeffrey was the love he has for family. For Dr. Jeffrey, to have his son in the family business is just the icing on the cake.
I’m not sure why they call it a dental “practice” – it’s obviously that Dr. Jeffrey and Dr, Clay know what they are doing and they do it better than many.
Visit the website of Drs. Jeffrey and Clay Weisberg for information. http://www.easternvirginiadental.com Click on the link “My two Front teeth”. You will see evidence of Dr. Jeffrey’s accident as a child and how modern dentistry has changed.
Don’t forget to watch for the article about Clay and Boots. It will be therapeutic for you.