Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Lost Tradition -- The Photo Album // A photographers view from a historical perspective

I have posted on my blog many times about my love of photography. I need hardly mention again of my great love for recording my life through pictures. The fact that I can try to capture the moment that is so fleeting in order to save a tangible piece of myself or my loved ones is a rare gift in the course of all human history. And today? We have an unlimited stock of photographs that sit hidden behind a computer or phone screen.

I always took great pride, weather that be good or bad, it is undoubtedly a fact that I take great pride in considering myself a bit old fashioned. Perhaps in one sense I am just being old fashioned and not very up to date but I think that a photo is not really completed without a print. I have just begun to print my photographs out and there is a lovely feeling to hold a photograph in your hand.

However, besides my nostalgic view on photography, I do not believe that I will always have all my digital photos safe and sound. They are just pixels on a screen, nothing real -- nothing you can hold, feel, smell. I have lost countless photos over the years on my computer due to computer crashes and transferring data, somehow pictures seem to get lost and are gone forever.

Besides I want to be a family historian to the best of my ability. I want to have a tangible record I can hold in my hands and tell my grand kids one day all about the stories behind my pictures. I want to be old and still remember how I looked on my 22nd birthday. I want to go back and have all the little pictures of my nieces and nephews throughout their growing years. I want to be able to pull out an album from a given year and have the memories flash back into my mind as I look at the prints. I want to be able to relive in my mind all the laughter, and heartbreaks. I want to remember my story -- and the stories of each of my loved ones. I want to give a gift to my posterity, I want to let them look into my life and the ones close to me and see a story in it all.

Perhaps I am above all a story teller. And true stories with real people are the best kinds of stories after all. I want to leave something behind me perhaps. That's why I take pictures, that and art. That's why I write. To remember. To leave a record behind me that I may read and see when I would otherwise forget. Is it the fear of forgetting that pushes me to continue at it? I think that is a big part of the reason. I forget things so easily -- the little details especially. I want to remember it all. The way things looked, the way I felt, the friendships I formed, the ones I loved.

So saying, I am printing all of my main photographs out and organizing them by year. I am writing on the back of each photo with a brief description. Where it was taken, when it was taken, who is in the photo, maybe explaining what was going on at the time of the photo if greater context is needed.

This is my new years resolution. To be a better historian. To be a better preserver of the photographs I have been blessed with in taking. How are you preserving your photographs? Will future generations be able to access them, to see them, to understand them? What is your reason for taking photographs? ~Molly

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! I applaud you for your resolve of keeping a tangible history portfolio. We haven't had printed photos for many years and I regret it sometimes. There were photos taken of a small family gathering in 2005 or so that weren't printed but were 'safe' and digital. Those images were lost when we accidentally deleted them from the memory stick they were on. I can barely remember the images.
    You've given me something to really think about. Thank you.
    Oh, and to answer your question- I take photos because my memory is poor :) But as my son pointed out, we seem to forget to live in the moment, to make a memory, because we photograph it. In our case, we rarely review the images, and so the memory is still not made. If that makes sense.