Start with the snapshot. Start with the connection. Figure out why grandma cares about the subject and make that the keystone in a photograph. Then pile on the better gear, experience and technical tricks to make it a better damn photograph than grandma can take.
The irony of dismissal via snapshot is that “snapshots” are almost always the most-posed and edited photos in the album. Seriously. Think about all the photos your parents, relatives, friends’ parents, etc. took of you. “Everybody get together. Smile. Stop screwing around! You too! Okay let me back up and get everyone in. On three. Okay, I think someone blinked, let me take another just to be safe. etc. etc.”
Aspiring to take meaningful and good family photos is all I truly care about in my photography. That this is somehow an inferior practice? Please. Those are the only photos most of us really care about.
“Look, I’m one of these people, I do not have a green thumb. I look at plants, and they wither and die. And so I had this empty flowerpot that was sitting in my studio, and a mother came in with this little 6-month-old baby, who was wearing a little woolen hat, a little fluffy woolen hat, and I saw the flowerpot and I thought, well, wow, she’d look like a lovely little cactus. And so we sat her in the flowerpot, and it was a black-and-white image, and that was that.”
From humble beginnings to a publishing powerhouse. And yes, it’s totally important to look at photographers who are popular but not necessarily good or important* since it forces you to confront issues of taste and why you like or dislike something.
Geddes is easy to use as a punchline. But she’s popular and a ton of people want to ape her style when taking photos of their kids. I have my photographic influences as well. I’d like to think that I’m not aping them just because I like what the images look like.