Words and Photos by Meg Tyo
Many wonder why a social worker started a photography business. In reality, social work and photography are not so far apart. Whether I meet you as your therapist or as your photographer, my job is to understand and honor your story.
Sweet Home Photography took root when we sold my late grandfather’s home. His house was such an important place for my extended family, and the thought of never seeing it again was heartbreaking. I began to take photographs of the rooms. Capturing the small, but meaningful, details in the home allowed me a chance to process that loss. It provided a tangible memory for my family during a difficult time. The photographs brought peace to my own family, and made me realize that this service could be of benefit to others as well.
As a social worker I’ve seen not only the challenges that come with aging, but also the resiliency, humor, and capacity for growth that older people possess. The people with whom I work have remarkable stories and show unbelievable hope in the face of significant difficulties. Our society still views old age as something to fear; in a world where later life is most often associated with loss and limitation, photographs can be a tool to empower seniors.
Bringing recognition and appreciation to both the small and the big things in life is something that social work and photography have in common. I see my camera as another tool in my social work kit to not only help older adults and families cope with change and loss but also bring focus to strength, love, and celebratory moments. Whether that’s through memorializing a family home before downsizing, capturing multi-generational portraits, or celebrating someone in a meaningful space, these photographs capture essential moments and transitions in our lives worth remembering. Bringing attention to the things that matter most while staying grounded in social work values is what Sweet Home Photography, and my journey, is all about.
“Joe has visited the Conesus Lakes Sportmen’s Club since he was a teenager. While he no longer engages in the sporting activities, he still enjoys the familiar space. Capturing someone in a favorite place doing something they love is one of my favorite ways to share a story.”
“Pearl left high school before graduation to help her family farm. She was granted an honorary diploma from Spencerport High School this year and is finally able to feel the sense of accomplishment that she felt was missing. She told me that the secret to living well at age 100 is to ‘always make sure to stand on your own two feet!'”
“Family heirlooms have so much meaning and hold so many memories. Adding an artistic touch to everyday objects let’s use see these objects in new ways and helps us elevate them to the level of importance they deserve.”