A Blog about Photography, Business, & Life

writing in the margins

Why Pictures are Important

Ever sat down and opened a repurposed box or tin full of old pictures? If you grew up in the 90s — I know you remember buying those $5 disposable cameras when you went on a trip or had a special occasion.

You only had 27 images to expose on that film, so you chose carefully what you were going to shoot. Then you took it to get the film developed and prayed that the images you thought you took came out.

Those were the days.

Those days filled shoeboxes of printed memories. Your trip to Splash Down Mountain. The family get-togethers, the family vacation to Disney World.

This was pre-social media, pre-internet days, but they were good days.

If your family is divided into different parts of the world like mine — you’d find pictures with messages behind them. I remember reading the backs of many pictures with my Nona’s handwriting narrating what transpired in the image.

These boxes full of memories are important because not only do they document a generation before technology, but they freeze handwritten notes. These moments when someone you love passes helps you cope.

Creating a slide show for my Nona’s funeral was therapy. I cried sifting through images and even videos of her. I got to hear her laugh, see her dance, and hear her voice — things many of us not only miss but fear to forget.

Pictures at times are the only thing you have left of a loved one who is gone.  Pictures that trigger a trail of memories you’ve shared with that loved one.  It’s really important to be in pictures and print them out.

I have a picture of my Nona walking on the beach printed and framed on my bookshelf in my office space. I hear the waves crashing on the shore and her laughter every time I look at this picture. I ugly cried with it, hugging the frame and soaking tissues with my salty tears. Pictures matter.

Pictures help us document history, personal and also the current events that surround us, that shape us in some way.

If you haven’t recently taken the shoe boxes or tin cans out. Sift through some photos and maybe frame your favorite one. If you don’t have a shoebox or an album, create one and look at it from time to time. These boxes are like an emotional first aid kit.

What picture has helped you cope or brings back a happy memory?

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