Claire Yaffa, Thoughts of Photographers, Philosophers and Dreamers – Life’s Lessons, Chapter 24

Claire Yaffa took her first photograph 45 years ago when her son was 18 months old and it was the beginning of her journey, first as a mother, then as a photographer. She has worked extensively for The New York Times and Associated Press. Her photographs have appeared in countless influential publications and have been exhibited at major venues in the US and around the world.

Portraits of Meaningful People

Many people pass our way as we live our lives. Why do we turn around and respond to someone who becomes special for us? A chance meeting on the street, or a posed portrait, a request. “May I take a picture?” A yes from our subject enables us to respond and reach out to the person we have selected. Why do they become special for us and what is it about them which makes us want to photograph them? There is something that makes us see and feel a life lived, the happiness, beauty, pain or sorrow which we see and want to share with them. It is an effort not to let them disappear. The camera helps to keep them with us. The photograph preserves the feeling that we had when we met them and then were able to share it with others.

There are many meaningful people in one’s life. They are loved and lost. The photographs preserve our memory of them and help to keep them with us forever.

John and Pat


Larry and Anne


Toni and Lisl


Ray, after I asked if I could take his picture. His reply, “You have made my day!”




Sister Connie and Anthony




– Claire Yaffa

You can also see more of Claire’s work on her website,

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Leica Internet Team

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One comment

  • “The photographs preserve our memory of them and help to keep them with us forever.” Indeed they do, Claire. Indeed they do.

    Claire’s underlying message is simple but the most powerful for photography: grab a camera –any camera– and take someone’s picture today. Someone special, someone you may not even know but want to remember. Chances are strong that you’ll be happy to see that picture one of these winter days in the future.

    And what a playful image of René Burri to end the series!

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