What is a photo to you?
What made you take that photo? Did you meet someone famous? Was it a funny moment? A beautiful moment/scene? A birthday? A celebration?
What do you do with it after you take it? Post it on social media? Delete it? Or, do you get it printed?
I watched an entertainment show on the BBC about 18 months ago and the interviewer asked a random member of the public, probably no more than 19 years old, if their parents had photo albums, and they didn’t know what photo albums were. This, somewhat, shocked me. Whatever happened to the printed photo?
It wasn’t easy capturing a moment, even before 2004. There would be camera’s that needed something called A Film, it would take, or ‘store’, up to 36 photo’s and to see the photos, the user had to pay £5 to £10 to get the film developed. Photos would take 7 to 10 days to be developed (printed) by a supermarket, a specialised shop or Boots, and the wait would be exciting, waiting to see how they turned out, and there would always a photo or two where a finger covered part of the lens! There was none of this ‘I don’t like that photo, take another one’, because this would be expensive. Buying Films and the photos, was expensive. And that’s what made photos special.
(Old style camera films)
When I was 19, it was seen as a privilege to have a camera on your phone. You certainly didn’t have one at the front too. In actual fact, I didn’t have a phone with a front facing camera until February 2017. I know, I’m behind with the times! I am lucky, my family took many photos over the years. But, compared to now, where you can take a snapshot at any time, my childhood photos seem minimal.
It does concern me that everyone has lost the value of a photograph. Let’s be honest, apart from that mistaken floor/blank photo, everyone takes a snap for a reason. And when there’s a reason, there’s a memory that is attached. I challenge you to look at a photo you took, or are in (depending on your age) and not remember something about that moment, even something small. Of course, I realise some photos are taken of a bad/horrible/abusive moment, but I am thinking about the majority of photos we take.
Every photo I have has a memory and is special in one way or another. I print my photo’s as I’m not sure I’ll ever truly trust technology not to loose it. If I have to pay for online storage, I might as well get hard copies (I know some storage is free but I still don’t trust it).
Photos have always been important to me. My childhood was Friday nights, sitting with my Grandma, looking through sacks of photographs (yes, they were in plastic black bags). I cant remember the photos we looked at, and who was in them, but it was that special time with my grandparents, asking questions and spending quality time with them. See, photographs also bring people together. Special times can be remembered together, even if you weren’t there. Treasured times!
Why am I writing this? I lost someone I loved recently. I hope I can call him a friend. He was part of a band I follow and had met him many times. He was such a lovely man. Anyway, every time I met him, I had photos with him. He never refused a photo and never saw him without a smile. Sometimes, I was lucky enough to have photo’s that other people had taken, where we’re hugging, laughing or talking. As you can imagine, these photos are incredibly special to me. At first, it was hard looking at photo’s, which I imagine must be normal. Even though its still hard, I smile with my tears and realise how lucky I was to have such amazing memories and a special collection of photos. A collection that stopped too soon.
Whenever I had a VIP with the band, we were always allowed to take our own photo’s. I have the most incredible photos that captured at my VIP experiences. Last year, the photo’s were limited to one per person. As you can imagine, this upset me. I always relied on extra, unposed, photo’s, to help me remember, enjoy and keep reliving a memory. However, I was lucky enough to have an extra photo or two from one VIP but, I am absolutely gutted the chance of multiple photos was taken away from me.
I regret many missed photo opportunities. I wish I had more photos with friends, especially when they live so far away. At every opportunity now, if appropriate, I take a photo. I see a celebrity, I ask for a photo. I see a beautiful landscape, I take a photo. My niece or nephew do something funny or naughty, someone captures it.
So, the lesson is, take as many photos as possible. Treasure them. Write captions or stories. Write down every single detail you want to remember. Whatever you do, DON’T TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED!
Picture’s really do paint a thousand words!