When I was a little girl, one of my favorite pastimes was looking through my mom’s photo albums. She had two big ones and one small one, each filled with a variety of mostly black and white photographs. One the edge of each photo, the date was printed by the company who had developed the film.
Each picture had been put into the book by my mom with these little, black, sticky triangle pieces that fit over each corner of the photograph. The negative had been carefully taped to the back of the photo, and underneath each picture, my mom had used white ink on the black pages to tell who was in every photograph.
As a little girl, I can remember spending hours poring over those albums. Several of the photos were taken long before I was born, but that didn’t matter. The faces that looked back at me from the pages of those photo albums were all familiar, since I had looked at them so many times. One of my favorite memories is when Mom and I would sit down with those albums, and I could ask her questions about the people in the photos and the events that were occurring when the picture was snapped.
Funny ... it’s been many, many years since I’ve looked through my mom’s photo albums, but I can still remember many of those pictures. None of those snapshots were taken with much artistic ability — most were shot (I’m sure) with the person behind the lens telling everyone to “Smile” before he/she snapped the picture. Nevertheless, I can still see those faces; those older styles of clothing; those cars which would now be antiques; and the familiar smiles on many relatives’ faces that look mysteriously like my own.
While many of those faces in those three old books are no longer with us, I am so glad their images were captured. I can’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t have those photos to be able to reflect on. How awful would that be?
Which leads me to the reason for this column. With all of our digital cameras and phones, when is the last time you had any photos printed? And more importantly, when is the last time you put those pictures in a photo album? If you’re like me, the answer is rather embarrassing.
OK, I have file after file of photos in my computer at home, and I can easily transfer them to a disc ... but that’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about a real photo album filled with real photos. I don’t have any ... OK, I have a huge box of long ago photographs in the basement that I plan on putting in an album someday, but if the photo police stopped by and asked me to produce my photo albums ... I’d be empty-handed.
It’s kind of sad. I think photo albums have taken the same journey that many other items from the past have taken. They are relics, in a way, and the fact that I miss them kind of makes me a relic too, I suppose.
But there’s just something comforting about sitting down with an album of snapshots that contain familiar faces. It warms my heart. It makes me smile. It reminds me of a place in time when life was simple, and all you had to do was put on your prettiest smile and say “Cheese.”
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcrnews.tsimon.