I guess you already looked at your family album pictures, and laughed about your dad’s hair cut when he was 18 or your mom’s outfit in the 80’s. For me, photo albums are part of my life, my past, my family’s history. Like a patrimony, a highly emotional patrimony.
My mother passed away 3 months ago. Today, exactly 3 months ago. Gosh, we didn’t expect her to end her life in this world so fast. Neither did she, I guess. My sister and I took the time to go through our family photo albums. Four generations on paper. Brown-yellowish old photo paper, discolored images, even some serrated shapes. Paper.... Those are so much more than paper.
Those are cherished moments. Those are everyday’s life moments. Those are my past, a part of me. As my family history, those are my heritage, the symbol of who I am now.
There are some pictures I can’t look at now. My mother’s, especially. It hurts so much, it’s unbearable. But I know, for sure I know, that one day, I’ll look at them and smile. I actually can’t wait for that day to come.
For now, I look at some of them and remember. And numerous memories are coming back. My grandmother’s perfume, the traditional Christmas movies we watched all together, my favorite sweater, the games my sister and I played in the living room. I love to see my parents when they just got married, my grandparents where they were ‘young’, my uncles and aunts when they were my current age. And I love to re-discover the bathroom in the first flat I lived in, the outfits I was wearing when I was 12, the school pictures during primary school.
I also know that we are lucky my dad was into photography during our childhood. Those moments had been captured and they have travelled through time because they were printed out. Because our « physical » memory cannot hold each and every moment of our lives, those pictures are able to open new doors into our brain. To remember moments we thought were lost, and to learn about your past.
Of course, as I am a photographer, you might think that my point of view is biased. Please, think twice. I'd be very happy if my words make you go and find one of your photo albums, and then smile at your past. Or make you look for digital images from your last summer vacation, kept on your computer and create a photo album. Or you might want to call up a photographer to create those lifetime memories.
What is gone is gone. And what is captured and printed out becomes a lifetime memory for you and your family.
And the value of this is limitless.
PS: I chose to only post pictures of me, as a kid, to respect my family's privacy.