A few years ago, I managed to finally take some good photos of my Mom and Dad, who are residents at The Gardens of Parry Sound


My Mom:

Christa Istvan at the Gardens of Parry Sound drinking tea


My Dad:

Edward Istvan at the Gardens of Parry Sound

Capturing these images of my parents made me realize the importance of preserving cherished memories through photography. I thought about how people might be missing the opportunity to capture their own family's legacy, and how I could help create beautiful, lasting memories of their loved ones or parents. I approached the management  at the Gardens of Parry Sound and proposed a complimentary "Resident Photo Day".

If your parents are still alive, you might consider taking, or having photos taken, of your parents/loved ones to help capture memories that will last a lifetime for some of the following reasons:

  • Memories:  Your parents may be some of the most important people in your life, and capturing some photos is a way to preserve that memory. Down the road, looking at those photos will likely evoke emotions and cherished memories. 
  • Time moves quickly:  Life happens, the hustle and bustle, and then "all of a sudden", your parents will not be around. Capture their personality, their spirit, their smile, or special expression, will help keep those memories. Having a photo may provide some comfort and healing.
  • Ancestry Tree: Photos help capture history, and future generations can use these images to learn about their ancestors and family traditions.
  • Smile on your Face: Capturing photos of your parents with silly faces or expressions, questionable clothing options, crazy hair styles, costumes, compromising positions, and the list goes one, will provide a pleasant way to remember your parents, and help bring a smile to your face and heart.

 photos of seniors will silly faces

huge resident of the gardens of parry sound

Black and white image of Hugie staying at the Gardens of Parry Sound


During one of the times I was at the Gardens of Parry Sound, I asked Dave, from Big Lake Cinematic to come and capture some of the behind the scenes.  Check out this short video:



My wife Kathleen also comes with me and while people are waiting to have their photos taken, she chats with everyone and writes down some of the stories they share:

I’m most proud of my work with the Provincial Government, working in adoption disclosures, it was so rewarding helping adopted children reunite with their birth parents. They would meet in a “neutral” location, often at our of
fices and my staff would say oh boy, here she goes – because the children and parents always cried and so did I.

I’m a veteran. I enrolled for WWII but was under 21 so I could not go overseas. I worked on the file revision team to change all the names to numbers. Worked all across the country with a group of girls, changed the name so that there wouldn’t be any confusion between people with the same names and for privacy. We finished our work in BC and when we got back to Toronto, our male officer, he was a very nice man, had a party for us. My father was a veteran too – WWI.

I was an air raid duty in Hastings, England. My girlfriend and I were put in a room upstairs and we went outside for a break and met my husband, Vernet. He was eating “chips” for lunch with a friend. He was with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and we made an appointment  (e.g., "date"). He came the next night and met my parents and took me to the cinema. I am 100 years old born in 1921.


a collection of residents from the Gardens of Parry Sound

Stories, nuggets, and wisdom

As I was writing the article, I came across this "list" from Regina Brett, and you can learn more by reading about her background and career highlights. The internet titles this list " Written by a 90 year old, 42 lessons life taught me". Well, there is some folklore about Regina and this list, however, regardless of who wrote it, and when, lots of great messages, and many of these concepts were shared by with the folks I was capturing in front of my camera.

Written by a 90 year old, 42 lessons life taught me:

  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short – enjoy it..
  4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
  7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
  8. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.
  9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  11. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
  12. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it...
  14. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  15. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
  16. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  17. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
  18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
  19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  21. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
  22. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  23. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
  25. Always choose life.
  26. Forgive but don’t forget.
  27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
  29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  30. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..
  31. Believe in miracles.
  32. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  33. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
  34. Your children get only one childhood.
  35. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  36. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 
  37. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
  38. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.
  39. The best is yet to come...
  40. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  41. Yield.
  42. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Bottom line:

Apply some of these concepts and principles, and, don't wait, take photos, or make arrangements to have photos of your parents, grandparents, or any loved ones, to connect with them in a very meaningful way and help preserve memories.

Peter Istvan

Peter Istvan Photography

Peter is a professional headshot photographer. Available in studio, or on location. Serving Parry SoundMuskokaSudburyNorth Bay, Barrie, Toronto, and surrounding areas. 

Would be happy to hear from you!