A Cobb-based photographer captures the everyday moments you never want to forget.
by Elizabeth Cossick | Photos by Matt Druin
Matt Druin sat with the old shoebox in front of him, riffling through his childhood family photos. The scenes were so familiar, like still frames from a home movie: him and his sister in pjs on the couch, his mom smiling next to a lopsided birthday cake, his dad adding tinsel to the Christmas tree. For Matt, the photos brought back more than just a flood of memories; they also crystallized a truth. His favorite photos were not perfectly posed studio shots. They were the candid, everyday captures that told his family’s real story.
Even before his shoebox epiphany, Matt, a professional photographer, had long struggled with the idea of taking staged family photos where everyone is starched and stressed and standing in front of a structure or scene that bears little connection to their actual life. He decided he would rather tell families’ stories – the real stuff. “Formal family portraits serve a purpose, but everyone standing there in matching outfits on a railroad track, I mean, who does that in real life? No one. There’s nothing real about it,” he says.
So, Matt has burgeoned into a new way of doing family shoots. He calls it a “Day In the Life Family Documentary” because that’s what it is – a documentary that follows a family throughout an entire real day, from morning yawns to bedtime stories. “When I think about what I want to remember about my son, Mason, it’s what he really does every day – his interests and likes and the things that tell the story of who he is right now,” says Matt. “I want to be able to feel that connection when all I have of his 2-year-old self are the photos.”
To pull this type of shoot off in someone else’s home, Matt arrives before the children are awake
(he has entered homes at 5:30 a.m. before) and leaves after the kids are tucked in. During the day, his favorite moment is when everyone has forgotten he’s there, and he can just be “a ninja”
(as he’s often called by clients) and capture a family’s un-self-conscious life.
To the families he’s photographed in this style, the images are astounding. “Suddenly they see their life through a new lens,” Matt says. “Sometimes people are unsure of how they will like candid shots – especially women, who tend to be hypercritical of themselves. But, they’re going to want those natural, candid moments, so they can look back in 20 years and remember exactly where they were. The images I take are not picture perfect because nothing in real life ever is. The toys are on the floor, the kids sometimes cry, it takes forever to clean up each night. But we
should celebrate that because it’s the brief reality of life right now.”
LIFE WITHOUT HASHTAGS
Matt’s hope is that families will do these sessions throughout the years, as a look-back collection oftheir lives. “They’ll see every stage and the way their house looked, how they grew, how the kids grew,” Matt shares. “They’ll see the transition through the years, not as presented to Instagram or Facebook. There’s no hashtag for this. It’s just their real, raw, messy, amazing life.”
SOURCE | See more at matthewdruin.com. Contact Matt Druin for details and availability at 678-551-0115 and firstname.lastname@example.org.