The Pictures I Didn’t Take

As I scrambled to find the last picture I took (with my DSLR camera) of my dad I couldn’t stop kicking myself for not having one that was more recent. Oh of course I have plenty of cell phone pics. But I was desperate to find one taken with my camera. I didn’t even know why at the time. It is clear to me now though. 

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” – Andy Warhol

As a photographer I felt I had failed somehow. All this ‘preaching’ I do about the importance of printing your pictures and capturing your history was what? Just words? Nope. Not at all! I realize now I was just being hard on myself to avoid what I was really feeling. Heartbroken. You see, my dad passed away very suddenly on May 27th. And I threw myself into the funeral planning to ‘be strong’ for my mom and my siblings. Having a slideshow of my dad’s history was so important that it launched me into my frantic search. The image you see above is one of those pictures. 

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”  -Karl Lagerfield

This is the last picture taken of my dad with my cell phone.

My father was a great man! He taught my siblings and I what it looked like to work for what we wanted. His love for my mother gave us hope for the kind of marriage and relationships we would later seek. They held hands often, danced whenever they had the chance, laughed probably every day, and always showed affection to each other. He always said he was proud of us and said, “I love you” often. 

My dad was a domino king. He could tell which dominoes you had sometimes by the 3rd round. It’s a game I’ve taught my own kids how to play. 

Every year he tried to be the first to wish me a happy birthday. And if that meant calling me a week before then that’s what he did. Ha! 

He loved his kids, his grandkids, and his great-grandkids. He even loved our childhood friends growing up. 

My dad also appreciated the value of a photograph. The day we took this photo we had taken pictures of him with all his grandkids, him and his daughter’s only, him and his sons. Every time we came together for family gatherings we’d do the same poses to compare with past and future pictures. Thinking back now I remember he was only ever grumpy about taking pics a handful of times. 

I have since found tons of pictures of my dad that I will treasure now more than ever. 

Joe Henry Ramirez September 8, 1956 – May 27, 2017

So this brings me to why I wrote this blog. With Father’s Day around the corner I’d love to give someone memories they can treasure forever. I’m having a Father’s Day giveaway! To win a one hour session, please email me at and tell me why you’re dad is number one. And if you’re dad is no longer here on earth and you want to gush on your husband or significant other let me know too! Winner will be selected and announced Sunday, June 18th. 

Rules: Emails must be received by Friday, June 16th (2017). Facebook messages will not be accepted as a form of entry (only because I don’t always get messages so I don’t want anyone to miss out). Session will be limited to father and kids only. You must live in Houston or San Antonio and you will receive an email with more details after you enter. 

“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.” – Ralph Hattersley

Thank you for reading this to the very end! And remember, I’m available to capture your history! 


Vanessa Figueroa

7 thoughts on “The Pictures I Didn’t Take

  1. I dont have my dad hes in heaven i know hiw u feel my god hiel ur pain day by day but he will be in ur heart forever im very sorry for ur loss but i would love to put my son daniel arias for being a great father to his kids hes doing the best he can to raise 4 kids this thersday he graduates from the Academy of a firefighter and God bless my son he starts working on Sunday I’m very proud of him and pray for him on each day I was life sorry i dont know how to email it

    • Thank you very much! And thank you for entering Daniel. I will include this with the rest of the giveaway entries. May God bless him and his family always.

  2. Hello, Vanessa. Just wondering if I entered your giveaway correctly? I sent in my email, wanted to verify that you received it.

    Thank you! Beautiful blog btw!

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