Each summer I am thrown off by the same question:
"Where are you all going on your family vacation this summer?"
Oh. Right. People do that.
Don't get me wrong - we do things. But unless we are visiting one of four states we have family in, there's not much 'vacationing' outside of that.
This summer was different. An entire 3 weeks would be dedicated to travel. I would be taking my 3 children on a 3,000 mile road trip and cap it off with my husband, eldest child, and I spending 10 days in Haiti.
It. Was. Incredible. I totally see why people do this.
In the midst of the road trip, I spent a good chunk of time at my grandparents. I hadn't been in years and it felt incredible to be surrounded by so many familiar things again, generations and heirlooms cuddled together in a cozy Florida bungalow.
My grandparents are pretty incredible for many reasons, one being that any time I go out with them they are mistaken for my parents due to their youthful looks. Another is that they have dealt early American antiques for 50+ years. Mike from American Pickers actually reached out to my grandfather once regarding a bike he had.
As I walked around their home after having been gone for so long, what has always been so familiar and comforting to me was suddenly seen in a new light. I don't often walk into homes like my grandparents: original wood items dating over a hundred years, iron lamps, hand sewn blankets, leather bound books.
I paused by one of the deep, dark oil portraits one day when it hit me: This is where I come from.
I've always been cautioned: "That seems a little dark, don't you think?" But dark never quite registered as something negative to me (unless the subject matter was appropriate, of course). Rather than slipping into the shadows, I often feel that light is emerging. A warm, rich brown has a way of comforting a subject, like your favorite blanket. Darkness puts the light on display, as though it's allowing only the most important of details to be shown. Somehow, it always just seemed to have a little bit of a better story behind it.
Again, despite the muted greens of the 1950's and the throat clutching oranges of the 1970's, what was handed down to my parents were the subtle, neutral tones of a time well before that. What this realization would have done for me back in high school; Rather than feed off of the assumption that 'dark' was the fad of a disgruntled teen, a little knowledge of chiaroscuro could have probably done us all a bit of good.
I certainly have a love for light as well but that will be left for a different post. I have to assume that there will be a better understanding of the appeal in that, however. For now, I'm happy to have another piece of the puzzle that makes me. Allows me to provide history for others. A reminder that my love for an unconventional beauty might just be what makes me the light.
Teresa Robertson is a Photography-degree, award-winning, published Photographer specializing in all things women & birth. Maternity, Birth, Newborn, Children, or Family, she proudly serves multiple locations, including D.C., Atlanta, Michigan, Orlando, and Oahu. Her Fine Art series ‘Mele Ma’i: Procreation Chants’ can be found here. For information on Bereavement Photography, please visit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep