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What is Heirloom Art? | Calgary Family Photographer

Updated: May 8, 2022

When referring to my wall art and albums, I often use the term "heirloom art." But what does this mean? I'm here to show you with a personal example!

This is a photo of my dad and step-mom's dining room. Notice the two framed pictures on the wall?

Those are my great-grandparents, Cryiak and Rose,

and the images were taken in 1912 on their wedding day! My dad recently brought these home after attending his grandma's funeral, and I honestly think they're one of the coolest pieces in his home!

Of course, I never met my great-grandparents, but now there's still a little piece of them that I can be familiar with through art!

Cryiak was from Quebec, and Rose was Dene First Nations, which is partially where my family gets their Metis blood from. I always knew I'm Metis, but until my dad acquired these heirloom pieces, I never knew exactly how I was, at least not from his side of the family (my mom also has Canadian-indigenous ancestry).

However, I don't think heirloom art always has to be so long-term. And I don't think Cryiak and Rose got these portraits taken because they knew their grandchild was going to have them displayed in his dining room more than 100 years later. These were important milestone portraits for them (another term I like to use!) because it was a way of capturing their wedding day.

So what are milestone portraits?

Everyone wants beautiful photos on their wedding day, but as our families grow and grow-up, we forget to capture the rest of the milestones along the way. I often hear people say that they don't have any (or many) photos of them self as a child-- my step-mom only has one. Others have very few, if any, photos of them with their siblings, parents, cousins, grandparents, etc. Even with their childhood friends.

Fortunately, now that we all carry cameras in our pockets, I think this trend will continue to go down. But what about you, as the one who's often behind the camera?

My mom has always been the photo-taker in the family (where do you think I got my photography skills from?). So I don't have as many photos with her as I do with my dad. And I certainly don't have many photos of all of us in them. Even as someone who literally has a large rubbermaid tub of childhood photos of herself.... (I was an only child and only grandchild on one side for five years).

This is where your need to have other's take photos for you becomes so important! Children grow up faster than we realize, and so many pieces of childhood are often forgotten.

Milestone photos capture those beautiful moments that seem to pass by so quickly:

first steps, first day of school, all the way to graduation. And to capture these moments isn't just for your children when they're adults and want to reminisce on their childhood, or for your great-grandchildren 100 years from now. They're for you, for 2 years from now, or even 6 months from now, when you'll look at them and be so thankful that that fleeting moment in time is captured forever.

Milestone photos become heirloom photos faster than you think.

To ensure than you and your family have beautiful pictures all together at each milestone, I recommend booking a session, even if it's just a mini, at least once every two years, but in all honesty, this is one of those times where more is more! You will never regret the time and money put into making sure you can preserve all of life's stages.

I also recommend finding a local photographer who understands the value of creating beautiful, tangible art from your images in the form of wall art or albums, whichever you prefer. Don't pick someone just because they'll send you a bunch of digitals for cheap because here's what will happen: while a couple pictures may temporarily be used as a wallpaper on your phone, or your profile picture on Facebook (which is awesome and important too!) sooner or later, that digital image will get lost in the masses of other photos you have. When this happens, it no longer has the chance to become an heirloom photo.

The best way to preserve your memories is always in a tangible art form that you can see and enjoy around your house on a daily basis!

If you're ready to capture the stage of life you're in right now, don't hesitate to book your session now:

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