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Polaroid Unfaded: Seeing Beyond Ourselves

By Jarrod Reno Mar 23, 2017

To me, photography is family.

My journey with photography began before I was born. I would say it began with the lives of those I have never met, but provided me with incredible proof of living a good story.

I come from a line of Frenchmen who lived outside the lines. They pushed the cultural and societal boundaries in the late 1800's, early 1900's. My great great grandfather Franscoi Renaud, or "The Great Reno," (as he was better known as), spent years as a circus acrobat, strongman, and escape artist. Futhermore, he was one of the few tattoo artists of his time. He passed down this pioneering spirit and artistry through illustration, photography, and carpentry.

I also come from a family of explorers. Growing up we travelled the United States. We spent more time outside than inside and it kept our family close and strong. I grew up appreciating my life, my relationships, and the all that had been created around me because of our numerous road trips, camping trips, and even our short drives to our favorite fishing pond. It was always about the sunrise or sunset, the song birds, or the quiet stars, and experiencing it all, together. As children, we were learning to see beyond ourselves.

Throughout our childhood, my parents took an innumerable amount of photos of my brother and I, the places we went, and the stories we were writing. I grew into a very sentimental adult who still loves to look through those old photos. There is nothing like being transported through time while looking at a photograph.

As my wife Tess and I began having kids, I realized that I wanted my kids to have boxes of photos to look through as they grew older. I want their hearts to be full when reminiscing. So I take photos, lots of them. While I still shoot with my smartphone and film cameras, nothing compares to instant film. I began capturing our first little girl through expired Polaroid film and I couldn't ask for anything better than the instant nostalgia that developed with those faded colors.

When it comes to photos and my kids, I often take candids, but I do love a good portrait. My children are used to me stopping "life" so I can run and grab my camera and take their portrait. I love watching them peel apart the Polaroid film and reveal what they look like through my eyes. My hope is they see love, beauty, and a story.

My boy, Boston, pictured here sums up the courageous spirit of our family. May it never fade.