I recently came across a box of photos that I had forgotten about. Most were from the late 1980s and early 90s. A few were earlier than that.
Each picture brought back a flood of memories, and was very precious for that reason.
Before the digital revolution, a camera was expensive, 35mm film rolls very costly to convert into tangible photographs, and keeping negatives in good enough condition to have reprints made was difficult. We knew the value of capturing important images.
In modern times, I think we take photos for granted. I reckon I have more photos of my dog, Maxx, snapped within the last three months than I have of my late mum in total.
With smart phones and digital cameras, we can take thousands of photos for minimal cost; edit or delete them; store them in cards, drives or in clouds; turn them into calendars, mugs or posters; and even print off 6x4s in our own homes. We can share them electronically with family, friends and strangers around the world with the click of a button.
In a way, this immediacy and mass production devalues photographs. They no longer seem important, feeling more like bulk goods indiscernible from the innumerable versions of the same sitter or setting.
I look back at the hundreds of recent pooch pics, and can’t recall where or why I took them. They are just another photo of Maxx. It does not stir an emotion the way that an old photo of our previous dog elicits strong recollections of good times.
Memories are really important and should be cherished. Don’t risk losing them by being overly snap-happy. Or, if you do over indulge, pick really special ones and separate them from the morass of the rest. You’ll appreciate and value them more as you get older.
“A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.” Brigitte Bardot