In Defense of Capturing Memories

Change is inevitable. Sometimes it comes quickly, but sometimes small changes happen over a long period, it creeps up on you, and when you look back, you're in a completely different space. I wish I'd known this when I was younger. It's awful to regret what you should have done.

When I was growing up, we visited my grandparents quite often. I loved being there, I was my second home. Life happened around the kitchen table. We were a loud bunch, often with two or more conversations happening at the same time. I remember so much about it, but I have nothing to show for it. Having family and their house to visit whenever we wanted to made us complacent. I didn't think much about it when my grandfather passed away, but small changes started happening. My gran became a little more forgetful, it was a little more difficult to get her to laugh, slowly but surely her memory faded. My mom moved in to help take care of her. I would still go visit, and even though the people were not quite the same anymore, the house was still the same place it had been since I was little.  Still the same furniture, the same tablecloths, but the conversations had changed. The familiarity of the surroundings numbed me to the effect of time, and before I knew it, my gran had been admitted to a frail care facility, and my mom was packing up the house. The house we basically grew up in, the house I never photographed.

Never once did it occur to me to take photos of the house or my family. I haven't always been a photographer, so I suppose I have to give myself grace in this area, but taking those kind of photos isn't a matter of photography, it's a matter of documenting life. So now I have the memories, but that's really all I have. We grew up with photo albums that had printed photographs in them. It's terribly old school, I haven't seen one of those in years. Nowadays we either post photos to social media, or they're left on a hard drive somewhere to be forgotten, perhaps even lost at some point. We take care of every aspect of our lives, but our memories are left to remain just that, memories.

May I implore you today to take care of your memories? Photograph people and places. Photograph them with cameras, not cell phones. Get them to smile, not to pull funny faces. Years from now you will appreciate that so much, because, years from now, that may be all you have to remind you of someone or some place special.

Till next time,


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