Friday, August 14, 2009

Old Photographs

Most people love capturing those special memories on film (or flash card). Endearing images of Rockwell-esque family moments - birthdays, holidays, graduations, notable "firsts" - or good times with friends that we care about and with whom we share our lives - holiday parties, cookouts, goofing around - or snapshots of vacation moments - panoramas, hotels, eateries, views, vistas. Once the photographs are taken, they are placed into old shoe boxes or organized into albums that are then stored away in closets or on shelves, waiting for the occasional times when they are taken out and passed around. Folks can rekindle moments in time and, in a manner of speaking, relive them.

You know what, I have never been a fan of pictures. For one thing, being the person "stuck" with the camera or video recorder can really get in the way of just enjoying the moment. You miss the laughter and spontaneity and wonder and surprise. You concentrate much more on issues like lighting and movement and framing and f-stop settings. Can you recall a time when you missed the big moment because you were fussing with the camera or video equipment? I know I can. You can really miss out on the important moments if you are focussed on the wrong things. Kind of sounds like an important life lesson.

However, a bigger issue regarding the taking of photographs, at least for me, is that they always stir up intense feelings of melancholy when I look at them down the road. My little one's first birthday, early pictures of my fiancee wrapped tightly in my arms, playful poses of departed family pets. Frozen moments in time that have since disappeared into the aether, never to come back around and be tasted and savored again. Never again will we have those moments back before us. Photographs serve to me as too strong of a reminder of the passage of time and things lost.