We live in such a virtual world today. Our Facebook newsfeed is our window the world, with our friends' news and photos slipping by at such a rapid rate that we watch them as if they're flash cards that are training us to assess and dismiss the information in seconds. The ramifications of that are being seen in less face to face interaction, everything being abbreviated to save on characters in a text and a general disconnect with those around us. When you find yourself messaging your teenager to say 'good morning' from the other room...you know something has gone wrong!
We're seeing this phenomenon hit the value of photography square on the head as well. Photos slip by us, the good, the bad and the fantastic ones and we no longer stand and drink them in. The idea that a photo is just as good on a computer or phone has become so standard that I've found my clients gasping when they see their prints because they look so different, with so much more depth. Part of what they're seeing though, is the way that photograph will live with them and continue to tell that story for years to come. The extra time they'll get with it to really absorb it and view it daily.
I came across a quote today, that I think sums up how I'm feeling about this. It's about writing, but photography is nothing if not story-telling so it fits...
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anaïs Nin
Photographs do this and more. A good photograph will not only tell the story of that moment, it will tell the story in time to come with a slightly different twist, or a viewpoint not yet discovered. I have many photos of myself as a child that have become more poignant or interesting with every viewing, with that one simple story being re-interpreted a thousand different ways between then and now. These beautiful slides that my Dad took are all facets of me that was clearly evident as a child, but mean even more now.
You can tell I was a child of the 70s, can't you? The little elements of these photos, what they mean to who I am today and the little clues into my family's history are now priceless. My boys just looked at them over my shoulder and couldn't get over the similarities between all of us, but I see the sofa that my Dad made (ok, he now tells me that he designed it only...someone else made it and didn't see the height issue!) that was so low to the ground you couldn't get out of it, my favourite World Book edition full of poetry and rhymes, the Vegemite on toast (and face!) that I still love and my aunty and cousin behind me in the photo with the very cool Dolly Varden cake (I remember that cake had a marshmallow frosting dress!). It's a wealth of stories that I'm sure my parents didn't see when they took them, but they're the parts I'm fascinated by now.
The point of my rambling??? Value the place your photographs hold in your life. Talk to your children about them, put them on your walls and in albums and enjoy them every day. Give those photographs the voice that a fast newsfeed or a screensaver won't. They will let you live that moment not just twice, but a thousand times.