Over the last couple weeks I’ve started to have multiple conversations with families who say “Why buy a picture? It is only going to sit in a box.”
It’s not that I haven’t heard people say this statement before but it has begin to hit me so much again recently that I haven’t been able to simply smile when I hear people say it.
When I hear someone say this, I feel the need to react with “Pictures are one of those things that get better with time.”
You see, I totally get that you may very well buy a picture and it may just find itself in a box. I think that is completely okay and normal. A photo sitting in a box is never a waste of money because like wine, pictures only get better with time.
At the end of January I lost my last remaining grandparent. I was present when she took her last breath and that moment has really been sticking with me these days as I remember her peacefulness, the sound of the room, and the moment my uncle rested his forehead to hers for that final moment. It was beautiful, probably one I should’ve photographed but one I chose instead to simply be present.
When I got home, I opened one of our many photo boxes. I started flipping through them and found some amazing pictures of my siblings from before I was born. I found some great ones of my mom.
The found a few of my grandparents including one of my grandma holding this bunny bag that all of us grandkids used to play with in the Moopuna room when we were little.
I couldn’t help but smile and laugh at the pictures I was finding. I found pictures of me and couldn’t believe how chubby I really was and started seeing some of the similarities between me and Riley.
These are only a few of the dozens of images I ended up scanning and having a great laugh at while I sat by myself going through our old photo boxes. I think loosing a family member is when a photo gains it’s perfect sweetness because that image gives us the power to go back in time for a moment and remember the time that photo was taken. We can almost hear the voices, remember the smells, or remember why that it was relevant to take the photo in the first place. They give us the smiles or a laugh when we need it the most. It gives us the chance to see how we used to look, how we’ve grown, and to remember those who are no longer with us.
When I used to work at a photo lab. One of my favorite jobs is when customers would bring in their old family pictures to be scanned. I may not know these people but the chance to browse through their images and see the little snippets into their lives was one of the best times of my work day. And you know which ones were my absolute favorites? The old black and white pictures that came in all different sizes and shapes. Because those pictures aren’t like the posed pictures we see today. They are real insights and portraits into the time they were taken.
As a photographer, I know this is my job to help make these images that will eventually become stories, keepsakes, and legacies. That they will be enjoyed at all different walks of life from the moment they are taken until even future generations.
This is why I have a passion for photography and why to me, there is nothing wrong with a photo sitting in a box. Because I know that while a photo can be special in the present, I know that years down the road, that photo is just going to get sweeter and sweeter.