Unless you are one of those people with a photographic memory, you probably need photos to remind you how people and places used to look. I was looking at a friends’ photos from high school and asked her who someone was. She looked at me like I was crazy. I realized then it was a picture of her. In my defense, it was not a great photo, but still…
This made me realize how important photos are. Everyone has filters on their memory. They have their own version of events and how things looked. Photos record things exactly and continue to be that accurate representation, something our memories usually don’t do. That is why we always remember to take pictures at the important events in our lives: weddings, anniversaries, birthdays. We want to have those milestones recorded for so we can relive and remember them.
I propose, though, that we are looking at it all wrong. We will remember many of those milestones, even without the pictures. That is why they are called milestones. What we should be taking pictures of are the everyday events, the things that enrich our lives: the funny face your spouse make to get you to smile, your grandchild snuggling in your lap for a nap, your dog with his favorite toy. These are the things that make life special and important. By having pictures of these moments, we can look back and remember a life well lived.
The problem can be capturing those moments. In the past you had to have a camera out and loaded with film to get the picture. Then you took the film in for processing and hoped the pictures came out. Now, we have digital cameras. We can view the image instantly, and if the moment hasn’t expired, take another picture. Heck! Our phones have better cameras in them now than most of us could afford 20 years ago. So pull out those cell phones and take that picture. They don’t have to be boring either, with a little research and practice, even your everyday shots can be mesmerizing.
The big consideration with digital photos is keeping them. If your phone dies, flash drive is lost, or CD is scratched, those photos are gone forever. The fix for this is two fold: printing and a duplicate storage method.
Duplicate storage is even easier now with cloud storage. If you are using a digital camera with a memory card, you can download your pictures to your computer, and also back them up to a cloud drive. If you are using a phone, you can either sync the phone with your computer or save the photos to a cloud drive.
Second, printing your photos will not only save them from being lost forever, but also provide the opportunity to enjoy and share them. In many ways, photos are like books. I love my e-reader device, but some books I just want to hold in my hand. The same is true for photos, I want to see what they look like printed. You can print your photos at home or use a printing service. They each have benefits, so it is up to your circumstances to find the best fit.
Whether you have boxes of photos from your whole life, or you are just starting your collection now, the final piece of the puzzle is to display your pictures. They must be viewed to enrich lives and encourage understanding of the past. This can be done in so many ways: framed images on a side table, printed pictures on canvas and displayed as art for your walls, or even used as wallpaper! However you do it, make the images a focal point in a room.
Our experiences in life make us who we are and shape our future. The photos of our life express this in images. Proudly display them!