I’m sure we all have them – photographs of ourselves taken by semi-professional photographers chronicling our outward progression in life.
For most of us they were taken in school, or at the local Sears store – posed perfectly for grandparents everywhere to proudly display in ornate frames around their house.
In my basement lives an old shoebox my mother bestowed upon me. Inside are years of such photographs – haphazardly arranged with no real order. Looking at them now is laughable from the fashions I wore, my bowl haircut or those awkward pubescent years I wish I could forget.
But beyond all the poses lives something I consider infinitely more important. Real-life, casual pictures capturing moments we oftentimes forget. They’re snapshots of reality – holidays and birthdays, fun times swimming in the pool during summer vacation, riding my bike without training wheels for the very first time.
These real-life, casual pictures are tied to my memories – igniting a feeling of warmth and joy inside my heart. I feel it when I look at the bright smile of a little boy and the innocence which often surrounds our childhood. I feel it when I see the young, vibrant faces of my grandparents, who were such an enormous part of my entire life. That old shoebox is the truest representation of a treasure chest for me – forever capturing the moments of my life that will always make me smile.
Diane Arbus once remarked, “For me, the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture.”
Rolls of film may be gone from our modern day society. But what they’ve created for me is a tangible archive of happier times. Sometimes I just sit in the basement and flip through the sea of polaroids and small grainy pictures with rounded corners housed in that shoebox. It’s a wonderful reminder of where I’ve come from and the amazing people who’ve provided me with unconditional love.
“A picture is not only a reflection of people. It’s a reflection of compassion, love and memories of good times.” Sandra Edwards