Photographs and memories

I’ve been pondering the idea of the paparazzi.  While I hate the way some photographers harass and literally stalk celebrities in order to get some stupid sensational photo that they can spin and make a bunch of money at someone else’s expense, I have also seen some great candid pictures that are far better than anything that could come from a planned photo shoot.  Sometimes the best shots are the ones where someone is being totally, naturally themselves.

My sister is a photography fanatic.  When just going about her daily life she takes quite a few pictures, and when something “special” is happening, she literally takes several hundred pictures in a day.  We kind of tease her about it, but I actually really like that I don’t have to worry about it, and I know she’ll get far better pics than I could, even if it’s simply because out of a thousand pictures, there’s got to be a few keepers!

I think part of the reason I’ve been thinking about this is that while I was going through pictures of my grandmother I was lamenting that there were so few of her in her later years, and so few of me with her after I reached adulthood.  This is probably because she wasn’t happy with the way she looked, and always avoided photos like the plague.  I too, suffered from extreme photo avoidance, primarily due to my dismal self-esteem, which I have only recently started to overcome.  But because of that, I have very few photos of the two of us, even as important as she was to me, and even though we’ve spent quite a bit of time together.

We do have a few, from holiday gatherings of family, and I am grateful for those.  But sometimes I wish that I had a picture of us playing Scrabble, or standing around the piano and singing together as granny played, or laughing over some ridiculous thing that someone did or said.  Because most of all, I remember the laughter.  It was never hard, with my granny and granddaddy.  I was always safe, and happy, and we laughed.  There was music, there was joy, there was love, and there was laughter.  And I’m sorry I don’t have a record of more of those moments.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want to cheapen the memories, or imply that they don’t mean as much just because I don’t have tangible evidence of them.  Those memories will remain just as dear to my heart as they were the day they occurred.  But it would be nice to have a few pictures to make them even sharper.  To keep them sharper as the years cause them to fade.  And I could probably write another page or two about hanging onto and dwelling on the right memories.  We choose the moments that continually replay in our minds.  Make sure they’re the good ones.

But right now I’m talking about physical mementos of those moments that we share together.  It seems like we flood our wedding days with pictures, but then neglect our daily lives with our spouses.  We take pictures at the birth of our children, and on their birthdays, but sometimes we don’t take enough of random happy days.  Maybe this is just me.  Maybe I’m just a deadbeat mom for not taking more pictures of my kids, and WITH my kids, and the rest of you have made that a higher priority than I have.  But I’d like to improve that now.  I want to make a point of intentionally taking pictures with my kids, my husband, my nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, everyone who is important to me.  Look out, people, because I am going to be THAT person.  And I’m hoping some of them will be relaxed and natural, moments in time, candid shots of our lives together.

So I’d like to say, Heather, keep stalking us all.  I want to encourage your love of photography, and all the rest of you out there, take pictures.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re an amateur or a pro, whether you have a several-thousand-dollar camera, or just a cheap disposable or fuzzy cell phone camera.  As lame and corny as it sounds, you will later find gems, even if there are only a few.  And you’ll be glad you did.

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