What makes a photograph significant?
Some describe a photograph as a moment, frozen in time. I prefer to think of photographs as pathways. Dynamic and fluid. Connecting past and present, emotion and memory, in a new way with each journey.
When I was a child I loved to look at my baby album again and again.
I remember the crinkly sound of the plastic as I turned the pages, the pictures bathed in a warm glow. Over the years, I’d pull it out, and the meaning of the images would change even as the photographs stayed the same. Including that photo at the top of my parents in 70’s clothing just before I was born, which became hilarious to me as a teenager in the 80’s, but now feels retro-cool.
Many of our family photographs were also on slides, and our family enjoyed slideshows. I loved the ritual of pulling out the weirdly textured roll screen, filling the carousels and setting up the projector. We’d sit down on the couch and click through photographs as far back as before my brother and I were born and before my parents were married. We’d choose photos from all eras intermingled… me holding my baby brother, my Grandmother reading me a book, the backpacking trip where my brother’s backpack carried only his stuffed dog, a birthday party. We’d talk about the memories they triggered, and retell our family stories over and over.
As time went on, we all had less slideshows and albums and more boxes of negatives and prints. And then, over the years, we had less tangible photographs of any kind.
Today, we often have what I like to call digital shoeboxes.
Photos are stored on our phones, on our laptops, on the various devices our family uses and maybe one or two cloud services. They seem like efficient, easy and permanent storage spaces, but, just like the old standby shoeboxes filled with prints under the bed or in the attic, gathering dust and mold, digital files are ephemeral (remember floppy disks? tech gets obsolete fast) and they are not quite as accessible as people think.
Somehow, despite social media, amazing tech solutions and phone cameras, storing and sharing photos with your family has become even more challenging.
Your children don’t usually see the posts you make on social media. They don’t always see the photos on your phone or laptop.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a consistent system of exporting images from your phone and printing them so that your family can see them on the wall, or in albums or slideshows.
We rely on our phones and other devices, and assume that everything is backed up online. But the reality is that most of us need better systems if we are going to share, enjoy, and keep our images for future generations.
Family photographs are more powerful and relevant than ever right now. They improve our mental health, nurture children’s self-esteem, and help us feel less isolated when we can’t see our loved ones in person.
I encourage you to find some photographs, or help someone else find them. From a box in your parent’s attic, from your digital shoebox, or from an old album. Spend a moment looking at them with your family, even if you have to do it virtually.
How do you share your family photos? Where do you display them? Do you have albums, a gallery wall or do you have a custom like my family’s slideshows? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Overwhelmed, or just want a little assistance with your photos?
I can help you set up systems, organize your digital collection, print, create books and slideshows, all completely remotely. Then, all you need to do is share and enjoy.
Let’s chat! SCHEDULE a complimentary photo organization or family photography consultation.
Apr 22, 2021