We’re reasonably good at capturing the holidays, birthday parties, and vacations of our families—kids jumping in the lake, riding the carousel, picking strawberries, and tobogganing at the winter-sleeping golf course. But what about capturing a special getaway with friends?
Whether it’s associated with a wedding, a retreat, a little vacation, or a reunion, bring your camera and take on the project of capturing it. Perhaps instead of contributing food, presents, or souvenirs, your participation in the weekend could be a photobook to memorialize all those friendships? It’s a rare and wonderful project that everyone will appreciate—and, mailed along to everyone after they’ve settled back into ordinary life, it will bring everyone back to treasure those times and those faces.
When you’re shooting—no matter what kind of camera or mobile device you’re using—do your best to be candid, to capture natural moments of cloistering, conversation, or laughter. Take time to memorialize the food, the activities, and the aesthetic details that make your friends your friends—their hand-knit hats, their hula hoops, their pots of tea and bottles of wine, their afternoons sitting on braided rugs around the fire. Wander from one bunch of friends to another, doing your best to get a good portrait of each individual at some point. Include a mix of action shots and partial compositions—jumping, swimming, sandy feet, bright red boots.
Do you not have a girls’ (or guys’) weekend like this? Start one. Make it a tradition. Use someone’s cottage or rent a little place that’s central to everyone, and bring everything that you and yours love. Cheesy magazines, homemade pickles, snowmobiles, tarot cards, candles, home-canned salsa. Set a stage and invite them all, with plenty of time to plan for childcare or bank accounts. It’s a chance to be yourself outside of your roles—wife or husband, mother or father—and to invest time in the friendships that feed you.
Just make sure that whatever you do, you bring your best camera with this promise: I will actively look around me, all the time, for what I love about these people—and I will capture it as best I can.
We have a private Facebook group for our bunch of widely-scattered friends, and in it, now that we’re all home, we’re sharing photos and memories. But what they don’t know is that I am cooking up something for them to hold, and it will come to them with a red bow wrapped around it, an invitation to make sure there’s a next year. That’s my contribution. —Kate Inglis