In exercise 3 we are asked ‘why do you think that photographs are such a significant part of our lives? Write down how you feel about photos – or videos – from your family’s past.
I love photos. I love the memories they help you keep, whether they or of family, friends, places you went to, objects you treasured, buildings you admired or just a moment you captured and like to relive. They can make you feel happy, sad, inspired, even angry, bitter, embarrassed and ashamed. My parents had a set of photo albums that they took with them every house they lived in, I remember them as a child being fascinated by the photos in them, black and white ones of my parents when they first met, looking so young and beautiful. My dad was in the army and there are pictures of him as a young sergeant away at war, my mum I always thought looking stunning, her smile beaming, my heart just melts every time I look at these pictures. I will treasure these albums, always. Before I left the uk to live abroad I asked my dad to go through the albums to tell me the stories behind the pictures, I even took photos of my favourites with my iPhone, just in case they got mislaid or destroyed. There are photos of myself and my siblings when we were babies, teenagers and now as adults, memories that will never fade because they are captured on film. This is why “family photos are often cited as being the possessions that people would most want to save from a house fire”. I know in my case, that would be true, along with my notebooks.
Here are a few of my favourite photos from my parents albums.
I love looking back at old pictures, especially those of my parents and my siblings when were younger. I have photos taken of when we were stationed in Hong Kong and Germany, my dad was in the army. There are black and white photos of my parents before they were married (before coloured photos were the norm). There are of course the embarassing memories of myself as a teenager, along with my two brothers with our ‘Kiss me Quick’ hats thinking we were cool, posing whilst on a caravan holiday on Hayling Island. Then there is the heartful one of my grandparents, the grandmother I never met. I have so many photographs, too many to put on this page, they are photographs from my family’s past, along with the present day photos of my daughters, family and friends, all are equal to being my most prized possessions, I really would do everything I could to save them from the house fire. However, modern technology does allow the comfort of knowing I have copies of photographs on my computer, ipad, phone and ‘icloud’ for maximum safety.
There is a box of photos that means the world to me, stored away in the UK, they are my favourite photos that I have put in there in no particular order. I had stopped putting photos into large albums as they had become too bulky to keep storing and then transporting everytime I moved. I do understand that there isn’t the same sentimental value with photos on a computer, however there are more advantages than disadvantages with digital photos. You can just keep the ones you like and not feel guilty deleting the ones you don’t. The downside is that people don’t tend to sit around looking at photos on a computer like with family or friends, in the past it would be a fun evening to get the albums out and be entertained with how we used to be, I find that quite sad. My own personal preference is that I do chose to have photos on my walls, especially of my daughters and family members, I am also in the process of creating a work area in my house where I can put up magnetic boards to display photographic projects that I am working on, such as ‘The Decisive Moment’ photos that I have taken. It is beneficial to have the choice of printing certain photos off and then others to just store on your computer for the future when you just want to have a browse, in which case it is much easier to look through albums on the computer if you are looking for a specific period of person or holiday snap that you are looking to find. I am glad that photography has advanced as it has opened up lots of creative opportunities, and avoids the whole frustrating wait for negatives to be developed, or in some cases to not get developed at all, and costly ‘black’ or ‘unfoccused’ photographs were miserably accepted from your photographic shop with no leaveway for costs to be returned. It is ok to look back over the nostaligic photos of the past, but the future is about creating new and exciting alternatives.