My best childhood memory was the summers my brother, and I spent in Hickory, North Carolina, with our maternal grandparents. However, my most significant memory was traveling with our grandfather, the only black photographer in Guildford County, to meet with families for photoshoots. Because it was the south in the 1900's black people were less likely to seek the services of a white photographer, making my grandfather a sought-after man.
When we returned home from a photo shoot, he would eat dinner then disappear into his darkroom in the back of the house next to the carport. I would sneak in there sometimes to see what he was doing. I quickly learned when I could come in without causing much trouble. It was those moments that were so memorable. I can still conjure up the smell of the chemicals. When I was allowed in the room, he showed how he would take a picture with his camera to tell a story without a word. A good picture is worth a thousand words.
On occasion, my grandfather would give me the back story to a picture that captured my attention. Sometimes a short story and other times an intriguing one, like the picture he took of a woman in a coffin. He explained to me without a long answer that he takes pictures of people that his customers want to remember; dead or alive. He explained that when people are grieving, they need something to hold on to, and sometimes it is the picture of their loved one laying in their final rest.
Grandad was a self-made man and a talented self-taught photographer. He had a grade school education but he was able to read books and take classes until he acquired his certificate as a photographer certified by the Board of Photographic Examiners for the State of North Carolina.
Amazingly it was not until a few years into my business before I realized the connection. My grandfather left me a legacy. While I am not a photographer nor a videographer I do have a love for design and images. It was not until later in my life, that I chose to reinvent myself as a photo manager, helping people to tell their stories with visual media.
Your Best Life Media was the inspiration of my first customer. She had seen the work I did for our church as a part of the media ministry and asked me to create a memorial tribute to her daughter for the repast she was planning. I had never made a memorial tribute before, but in 2 days' long distance by email, I was able to complete my first. She was so pleased with the video that she strongly encouraged me to consider making this work a business. Grandad was reaching out to me leading me to my next career. As they say, the rest was history.
Your Best Life Media is a legacy of love passed on from my Grandfather. He gave his customers his compassion and respect for their best life moments. Clients of Your Best Life Media receive the same. It is a personal experience where clients entrust YBLM with their cherished memories essential to creating a visual narrative to be shared. It may be for business or personal; either way, it places the client at the heart of the story making them feel an emotional visual experience. In the words of Maya Angelou, "...people will never forget how you made them feel."