Time Travel

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.

couple in front of house circa 1970'sWhen 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 they stayed the same. Including that photo 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.

baby lifted in front of Christmas tree
Our family photographs were mostly in slide form, and we would often have a slideshow. I loved the ritual of pulling out the weirdly textured roll screen, filling the carousels and setting up the projector. Images as far back as before I was born and my parents were married, when my Dad was stationed in Okinawa, often intermingled with images of 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...

"Oh that's when we..." or "I remember that!" the conversation would start.

Later, we had boxes of negatives and prints, and now digital shoeboxes, as I like to call them. Just like the boxes filled with prints under the bed or in the attic, gathering dust and mold, they are ephemeral and not quite as accessible as people think.

mom and baby smiling Somehow, it's a little more challenging these days to share photos, even as technology makes it easy to take them. In general, your children don't see the posts you make on social media. And unless you are really organized, 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 often rely on our phones, our laptops, or assume that everything is backed up online, but the reality is that most of us need better systems if we are going to keep our images for future generations. This is why I'd like to help people set up these systems and get their photos back into their family life. If this is something you'd like help with, contact me and I'll let you know when I launch my photo organization service.

So, at your next family gathering, or better yet, today, I encourage you to find some images--from a box in your parent's attic, from your digital shoebox, an old album--and spend a moment looking at them with your family. See what happens.


Please share your thoughts...