I remember when I was at school we were given one of those hypothetical questions to discuss in one of our lessons, social studies or something similar, we were to imagine that our house was on fire. Assuming our entire family was out, safe and well, and we were able to take one thing out of the flames with us to safety…what would it be?
We were teenagers so the answers were pretty wide ranging and, in a lot of cases, rather silly now that I think back. Some said their clothes, quite a few said their guitar or their CD collection, movies was another popular choice. Things that are important when you’re that age. I answered in a heartbeat and the answer I gave then is the answer I would give now.
Photos are so much more than just pretty pictures. They are pieces of our history captured forever. Memories confined to paper for us to relive time and time again.
They are moments and moments matter.
My Dad always took photos and he had an amazing silver suitcase which housed his camera and lenses and filters and all those exciting little rolls of film. (I also have vivid memories of his brother, my amazing uncle, turning those little film capsules into fireworks in his garden in South Africa but that’s another story for another time…) I loved that case and I loved looking through the photo albums and slides he had amassed over the years, seeing places I hoped one day to visit, learning to recognise faces of people I may never meet but who I grew to love through those images.
|Me, my gorgeous Mum and my little brother|
My little brother and I were bought our first cameras when we were probably around 8 or 9, mine was red, it was square and had a view finder that you had to fold up and down to use. I doubt anything we captured through those tiny little, non-adjustable lenses was a masterpiece, but they were our first experience of making our own memories. Our first exposure to the power of capturing moments.
When I think back, there were very few times I didn’t have a camera with me. I was always the friend who had their camera, who would take dozens of photos of sleepovers or days out, of parties or bike rides. I’d then have them developed and compile photo albums telling the story of whatever we’d been up to with comments and notes. I still have them and all their embarrassing content from the 1990’s and I’d like to think I’ll always have them.
I’ve had many cameras since that first one, many many many and certainly none as advanced as the one I have now but along the road there have been several cameras who’s images I’ll treasure long after this camera has been replaced. Not because they took sharp shots or allowed me a massive amount of creativity but because they captured moments that were so very special.
Family and friends who are no longer with us, their smiles captured forever and a connection kept alive with them as a result. Experiences that changed us, for better or worse. Adventures and events. Photographs allow us to revisit those moments whenever we like and to share them with our children, or our grandchildren. Photographs are so much more valuable than we realise.
I will be writing again soon about why I particularly want to take photos of you and your family and why I love to take photos of weddings. They’re very different in a lot of ways but the reasons why they mean so much to me are very similar and rather lengthy but I think I’ve rambled enough for one afternoon. Don’t you? 😉