Whether kinship to you means the family you were born into or the one you have chosen, true kinship never fails. And it needs to be preserved with photographs, because it is one of the only tangible pieces of kinship that we have. So it is important to exist in photographs for yourself and for your family.

There are photos on nearly every surface in our home. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Canvases, small prints, big prints. Framed pictures on my childhood piano and our fireplace mantle. A photo of my parents on their wedding day. Instant Polaroids taped to our refrigerator. Tiny details like the hands and feet and curly locks on new babies.

You know what I think about often? That one day my children will look for photographs of me and their dad, and us with them. What will they have? It's easy to get in a cycle of not wanting your photo taken. But life is short -- what happens when you're gone? What will be left of the life and relationships you created?

"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it." - John Lennon

My family loves me, and they want to see our life in photos as much as I do. I want to celebrate this beautiful existence we have built. This is why I take photos constantly, and why I hire photographers I believe in to create these photos that generations of our family will hold onto forever. Because a portrait is more than just a photograph. These photos are more meaningful than anything our family will ever own or vacation we will take or gifts we will buy. These photos, these tangible memories, are the only possible thing we could invest in that will go up in value the way they do.

We're making sure we preserve these memories for our kids. What's more important today, in this moment, than photographing your family and friends and existing in photos with them? Preserve kinship through photographs every chance you get.

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Lea Ciceraro is a photographer, writer, wife of an artist, mama to three amazing kiddos, Childhood Apraxia of Speech advocate, parent of two rescue dogs, music loving, vintage adoring, local farmers' market supporting, film photography addicted, wanderluster, lover of life. She takes leaps of faith when she feels a burning passion for a dream that just won't quit, and tries to always live without regret. Life is too short to not do what makes you happy or strive to be the best version of yourself. Check out her website and find her photography on Instagram and Facebook.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Kinship.

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