Letters to Little One

Photos

Dear Little One,

Today was a good day. Like always, I have a few projects that I’m in the middle of and I decided, since I had the time, I’d dive into one and see if I could make some progress. This particular project is a simple one. Photo albums.

A couple months back I was on my computer, flipping through folders and folders of pictures when I realized how much I missed having physical copies of them. Then I started to think about what photos had become in today’s society. They have become nothing, essentially. People take photos, not for themselves, not for preservation of memories, but for the internet. Upon snapping the shutter, the photos are posted to the internet, and more or less lost for all eternity. They get shuffled behind newer versions of ourselves and we rarely treasure them again. So, I decided I wanted to restart collecting my photos the old fashioned way. I combed through my computer files, and pulled out all of my favorites, before printing a beautiful stack of 4×6’s. I took them, organized them by approximate time period—starting with high school—and slipped them in an album. (Yes, I organized them by date. Yes, I’m a nerd. We are now moving on.)

I ordered 2 photo albums to start the project. The first would be for my favorite photos leading up to high school and the second would hold high school, forward. I started with the second album. (Hence the anal organization of the 4×6’s.) Before I could properly start the first album, I had to do some digging. We have a cupboard in my parents’ house full of photos. We also have 10 photo albums and a few boxes in the garage. I started with the photo albums.

Remember when I told you about your nows turning into thens? That’s how I spent my whole afternoon. It was a lot of “I remember this!” and “Oh my gosh I totally forgot about these!” Like missing puzzle pieces, these memories were all brought back with glossy rectangles. I was reliving then’s nows. I looked through hundreds upon hundreds of photos documenting the 24 years of my life, starting with the big round beach ball that was me in my mom’s stomach. I saw my parents smiling at one another and my sister and I crying and my cousins and I playing and my brother and our cat sleeping. Little moments that meant something then and even more now. They are the moments that got me where I am today. They are the moments that will bring me to you later.

That being said, take lots of photos, and look at them, often. Don’t let the social media machine consume your memories. Create them for yourself, not for popularity, and print them out! Me, I like a nice worn picture. A picture that you can tell has been around a while. A picture that reminds you where you’ve been since you took it. Digital photos are beautiful, sometimes perfect, but that’s not how life is, so don’t be afraid to hold a picture in your hand. (Being wary of thumb prints, of course. We’re not animals.)

The most important thing about pictures, is knowing why you took them. If you want a picture to mean something, you have to be in it when you take it. Not physically, but emotionally. Pictures hold memories when they are taken with good intentions. Follow me on this one. If you’re in a new place, take a picture of it, but don’t let the picture be your experience. Be in the moment before you take the photo, as well as after. The whole point of taking the photo is to relive the moment later on, so be in that moment. This goes for any moment, whether it be happy, sad, drunk, sober, you name it. Just don’t get lost behind the camera. Make sure you’ve seen the world with your eyes and not just your lens.

 

See you soon

(With my eyes)

(And very often my lens)

(Lenses on lenses on lenses)

 

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