Let’s face it, we all like to think we have great memories and can recall the moments that are most important to us in life, but can you really? Every single one? What about the ones you just didn’t notice at the time. On your wedding day, for example. Over before you know it, and you were so busy making sure everything went off as planned and socialising with all the people who made the effort to celebrate the day with you, that you just didn’t physically have time to notice everything that happened around you. All the little nuances that came together to make the day so special. Your cute five-year-old niece dancing with her grandfather, your father. Her little feet on top of his as he carries her around the dance floor, her delight evident in her giggles, a snapshot preserving the moment for eternity. Or your weary mother taking a moment to sit and reflect, her heels kicked off to rest stockinged feet that ache from the exertion of dancing, as she remembers just how small you were in her arms when she bought you home from the hospital all those years ago. Now here you are, a grown woman. She’s so proud she could burst, a smile dancing around her lips as tears well in her eyes, as she wonders where all those years went. The candid moment captured by a photographer for you to discover later, like priceless treasure.
(Photo Source: Photo by Ben Neale on Unsplash?)
My mother passed away very suddenly when my daughter, her first granddaughter, was only five months old. To say it was devastating is an understatement. I’ve since had two more children, neither of whom will ever meet their Nanny. They know her only through the stories I tell them and the photos I share with them. My eldest daughter loves to see the photos of her as a baby in my mother’s arms. I can tell her how much her Nanny adored her, but the photos show it unmistakably. The smile on my mother’s face as she clutches her chubby granddaughter, the love in her eyes. My children never met their great-grandmother either, but through photographs they know what she looked like. Without, they would not. Photos give us a sense of belonging, as we see traces of our own appearance in those of our ancestors.
(Photo Source: Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash?)
Moments frozen in time. Births, birthdays, friendships, Christmases, graduations, anniversaries. All recorded for posterity and for future generations. But not only the big events captured on film are important. That summers day at the beach with friends, when nothing momentous happened but you felt a perfect kind of bliss with life. You look back at the photos years later and it conjures up that feeling, as you remember how wonderful that day was for no particular reason other than just, life happening.
(Photo Source: Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash)
I wonder, would words be enough to convey the true horror of War? Without the photographs of concentration camps, of soldiers in the trenches, would we truly be able to grasp the mood and solemnity of the events of the time? Or, would we really get a sense of the luxurious grandeur of the Titanic if we could not look at photographs of the ship as she sailed out of harbour on that fateful voyage? Photographs exist to teach, to remind, to ensure we never forget.
(Photo Source: https://fstoppers.com/other/picture-making-history-shot-beatles-abbey-road-iconic-cover-5309)
Photography keeps us in touch.
Through the sharing of photographs, we can feel we’re still observing life pass by that we might otherwise be missing out on. Grandchildren, nephews, nieces, godchildren growing up on the other side of the world. You can open your email and see their first haircut, or their excited smile on their first day of school. An empty nester, grown children off exploring the world. One click, and there they are, their photographs helping you to also experience the adventures they are having, the places they are exploring. You feel less disconnected. They may be far away, but with photographs, they still feel close to you. And that can only be a good thing.
(Photo Source: Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash)