Today I want to talk to you guys about photos. But, I don’t know if I can right now. It’s currently 7:07pm. I am sitting in my Ethics class that starts at 7pm. The teacher has yet to arrive. He doesn’t like rules. Being on time is one of those rules. When he does show up, however, he is a very engaging professor and watches carefully to see if you are listening. 7:09pm: He just showed up. And a student has been saying the “F” word towards him, my guess is trying to impress him. She’s failing, miserably and looking incompetent while doing it. But, I’ve fallen off topic.
As everyone is back to school; my friends, family and children of friends, there have been a slew of “first day of school” photos being posted online. [Ok. Time to save the draft. Too hard to type and listen. Damn wanting to be engaged in class.]
Ok. Back to my point. I love photos. If it isn’t evident by the hundreds of photos I’ve put up on Facebook. Photos capture moments that help us remember a time that we may never think about otherwise. Today was my cousin Rachel’s first day of 6th grade. Last night, I went through my photos and found her a picture of me on my first day of 6th grade. A day I hadn’t thought about in ages. But the second I looked at the picture, I remembered that day, the days leading up to it and the days following it. It was a rush of memories all caused by one picture.
I think that part of the reason I’ve gotten into photography as an adult, or even in my late teen years is because of the lack of photos of my childhood. We were poor, and getting pictures developed, on top of the cost of buying a camera and film was too much for my mother. This small fiscal restraint has robbed me of many moments that I may never think about again and will never remember. In a new ago, of digital photography, it kills me. For anywhere from $30-$3000, you can buy a digital camera and forever have those memories. No more film costs, no more developing costs. Most of us even have printers in the home, capable of printing photo quality pictures. So, why isn’t everyone taking pictures!? Most people don’t hold value in it. They either had too many pictures taken of themselves growing up, and take it for granted, or they want to escape their past so much that not having a record of it helps them cope. I bring this up because today, as I mentioned, Rachel’s first day of 6th grade, I’d hoped to be awake before she took off for school so that I could take a picture of her on her first day, because, most likely, her parents did not. Also, I hate the camera phones are taking over for cameras! Sure, it’s nice to have a camera on your phone, but big moments shouldn’t be captured that way. Especially since most camera phone pictures are lost eventually. We don’t back them up on the computer, we don’t back them up at all. Sure, looking back on old pictures can be embarrassing, but one day, you may want to look back on those moments. Maybe a friend of yours passed away or a family member. You and your children, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and everyone else deserves the opportunity to take the trip in time back to the time of a photo in their mind. So don’t rob them of that. Don’t be afraid of what others think when you pull out a camera. They’ll either be thankful later, or they’re someone you’ll never see again. When I went back to Milwaukee this summer, my aunt Abbie gave me a stack of photos I did not know existed. They caught a painful time in our family history. A family dinner, just after the passing of my grandpa Dennis. One of the pictures stuck out especially to me. It’s the first recording of my social awkwardness. I was a much different person before I lost my grandpa. I was very outgoing, not worried about what others thought of me, sociable, etc. This photo shows the beginning of the next 12 years of social awkwardness:
Most people wouldn’t be able to look at this and see what I’m talking about. But, I was never a sloucher. I always sat up tall in my seat. I’ll try to remember to edit this post and throw a picture in of me as a younger person when I get home. But in this particular photo, I’m hunched over, I’m trying to take up as little space as possible, I’m sucking into my center. I no longer felt I deserved space to grow. It’s all funny to read about, but I can see all of this in this one photo.
I’m not crazy. I just love pictures. Try it yourself. Go find the old family photo album and look through it and tell me that there aren’t memories that come back to you that you hadn’t thought of in years.
Hopefully this came out better than I think it did. Sitting in class, writing a blog when you’re trying to get something heartfelt out AND listen to a professor you feel deserves your attention can be challenging. If I didn’t convey what I was trying to get out. I’ll try again in the future. But I think the main points made it to the screen. Thanks for reading everyone.
And as always,