Do you have an all-time favorite family photo? Perhaps it’s one you took on a recent family vacation, or snapshots from an amazing night out with friends. Your first toothless school photo, your first date, your first car. Maybe you have photos that you treasure from decades ago…your baby photos… or your parents’ or grandparents’ baby photos.
My Mama has a trunk full of albums just bursting with photos, and any time my sister, Cathy, and I are together at Mama’s house, our favorite thing to do it open up that trunk, gather up as many albums as we can fit in our laps, and go through every photo on every page, pointing to some and saying, ‘remember when…’ and laughing about something that happened before or after that photo was taken. There are about a dozen albums of just my Mama’s life experiences as an artist – art shows where she displayed her paintings, newspaper and magazine clippings about her work, or about the woman behind the art. Our family has always documented life in photos, and my Mama has lovingly placed them in these albums and cared for them so that Cathy and I would have them ‘some day’. But we have never wanted to stash these treasures away until that vague future ‘someday’ arrived. We always feel like ‘someday’ is now.
Where is your trunk full of ‘someday’ memories? Is it stashed away in albums packed in boxes? Is it on a disc on your desk, or tucked away in a folder inside your computer? Believe me, I have thousands of photos on discs and in hard drives. Some of these photos are just as memorable and precious to me as the ones in my Mama’s trunk. But I never find myself sitting next to my sister in front my computer clicking through thumbnails and saying, ‘remember when…‘
Don’t get me wrong…the digital age has brought much convenience and success to us as photographers. But I wouldn’t trade those photo album treasure hunts with my sister for anything.