In the end photos are all you have
We are so lucky to have had many professional photographers work in our customer service team over the years, including our current Service Manager, Nadia Stone (Moreau) – a Parisian born creative spirit married to an Australian, a devoted mum of three, and a self-described fine art photographer.
In addition to capturing moments for her clients’ families, Nadia is always creating a visual expression of her own journey through life. She is a natural memory keeper. To help you document your family’s experiences over the next 365 days, we’re sharing Nadia’s photographic journey as well as her tips on developing a routine for sorting and printing your photos, so they safe.
How did photography become your passion?
I was introduced to photography at eight when my dad, who always carried a camera, gave me a Minolta film camera. I loved it so much that visual storytelling became a part of my life and led me to study a Bachelor of Performing Art, majoring in Film and Television.
How did family portrait photography become your profession?
After graduating from university I worked as an editor in the film and TV industry, where I always had to focus on image creation, composition and light. It was totally aligned with my photographic practice, so I also studied a bit of photography. It only became the focus of my creative life after my son was born in 2008.
" Shortly after his birth I lost both my parents and grandparents within four years – it was tough! I was an only child, so memories of my childhood and my parents are all in pictures and film, not within the conversations and moments I have with siblings. "
This sequence of events made me understand why photos were so important, because memories fade in your mind but they remain in pictures. It made me appreciate tangible memories and want to put all my energy into preserving my own family, and other family’s, photo memories.
Who have been your biggest influences and mentors?
Kirsten Lewis, Irmina Walczak, Emma Wood and Summer Murdock but also the greats like Magnum photographers. I found it helpful to study one photographer at the time, to really learn how they composed and how the light fell in their images. It was a great way to learn.
You were a finalist in the Australian Photography Awards 2020 – Stories initiative, care of photos of your family. How did this photo series evolve?
The Blossom series, was the result of a long term project exploring the life of my daughter from eight until womanhood. Documenting the tangible elements: the transformation of her body, her personality, her complex behaviour, and her overwhelming emotions. I was capturing her childhood innocence with the teenage attitude shining through.
How often do you photograph your family and what moments do you capture?
I try to document as much as I can about our life but I also plan more conceptual imagery during the weekends. It is my happy place and my kids love to be part of it. As I am working full time and the kiddies are at school, those little moments need to be remembered as much as milestones.
How do you manage to keep your photo collection under control and not be overwhelmed by it?
I try not to overshoot or if I do I will cull my photos on the same day I shoot while they are fresh in my mind. When saving files I add some stars to their filename to reflect their importance, which will help me when I go back to do more.
How do you choose the photos for your photo books?
In this digitally saturated age, there’s something refreshing about arriving at a friends house and seeing books displayed for viewing on the coffee table. Each photo inside, can be a trigger for a story and this kind of communication is then kept alive. So you could say they contribute to a healthier life. I keep this in mind when collating and culling, I try to have a mix of moments. Milestones are always easy to add to the book but mundane moments of life are always more difficult to choose.
"I mix iPhone, digital cameras and film camera and I add them into a monthly folder and if there are special event or milestones in those months, I create a folder inside the monthly folder."
I’m looking for raw moments that represent our life at that time, so I have few crying kids captured (quite a few!) and some that are not always perfect but represent family moments that just happened and have become a reference in our family’s timeline.
Why do you prefer black and white to colour photographs?
I think it’s because of my film study and memories of my favourite past times with my Dad. I like the contrast, the deep shadows, and beautiful accentuated lighting. It also releases raw emotions enabling the creation of a timeless feeling that I strive for in my photos.
How do you feel when you’re designing then viewing your family photo books?
Creating a photo book is one of my ‘happy places,’ and reminiscing during the review, selection and collation process makes the memories come alive. Then there’s the anticipation of the arrival the book and the joy of gathering around the book with the whole family, oohing at each page and remembering together, those sweet, sweet moments that have passed. That is just priceless.
How do the kids respond to you capturing their photos and the books?
My kids were born into a world with many photos and they love to model for my crazy ideas. They are not always up for it but I have three, so chances are one of them will cooperate! As to seeing themselves in print – they love it as you can see here.
What are your top tips for anyone wanting to record their family’s existence in photographs?
Use natural light to create a timeless feeling but most importantly: Practice, slow down, and take a step back before clicking. And remember that, in the end photos keep memories alive for generations.
Take a look inside Nadia's Family Yearbook here.