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Tomorrow is promised to no one. For some of us, that fact is more meaningful than ever.

All of us have relationships that mean the world to us. Spouses, children, grandchildren, significant others, siblings, parents, friends, pets—our lives today are intertwined with others and speak of who we are as humans. Just as we plan our bequests and prepare our last wills and testaments, we should also reflect on how we celebrate and commemorate the most important relationships in our lives in a manner that will live on after we are gone.

What are our options? All of us have a camera today. They are everywhere! The newest cell phones have cameras that rival our older point and shoot pocket cameras. We may create collections of images that tell our relationship stories; many of us do that. However, our cell phone image collections are far from permanent. They are a drop away from destruction! The marketplace is also filled with inexpensive digital cameras, and the features included in all of them make capturing beautiful, images never easier. We often see lots of these images posted on Facebook and Instagram every single day. The proliferation of these images, in my view, diminish their significance. Storing these images that mean so much to us, remains a question of permanence. What is our

Bob Harper Portraits

assurance that our loved ones will even know where we have stored them? Remember IBM floppy disks, home movies, and slide projectors? Technology has advanced so far that these means of preserving and viewing memories are no longer feasible without a concentrated effort to preserve them and the devices required to view what is stored on the media. Today, newer computers are being delivered without CD/DVD burners and players. Technology continues to advance and the technical means at our disposal today to save and preserve our legacy memories may not be around for very long going forward. As an aside, today many young couples seek to hire wedding photographers who will deliver their wedding images on a DVD for archival and personal printing purposes. Not only does this often lead to substandard, less than professional images, but, more importantly, these DVDs often become relegated to a drawer or filing cabinet, never to be viewed again. What do we think the likelihood these images will be preserved into the future?

By far, by far, the very best way to showcase our relationships is through the display of a wall portrait in a central location in our homes. Not only do we get to enjoy the portrait daily and be reminded of what is important in our lives, but we are celebrating our relationships for all to see. The ones included in the portrait appreciate that they are valued and visitors to our home can see our greatest treasures. We are focusing on the value we place on our relationships and are indicating strongly what we are most proud of. That this portrait will outlive us and in all probability become a family heirloom is almost certain.

Professional photographers are the best resource we have to preserve these visual family heirlooms. Professional photographers will assist us in designing an image that will stand the test of time, with wonderful posing, coordinated backgrounds, complimentary clothing, and the right final presentation to celebrate and honor the relationships we hold most dear, helping to insure that these relationships will be preserved and treasured long after we are gone.

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