A Wedding Album: An Heirloom
October 15, 2018
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” — Aaron Siskind
Photographs are magic. Think about the fact that we can preserve an exact second/fragment in time for future generations to cherish (at least 174 years later, currently). I suppose we will have to see how long the world can hold on to those first Daguerrotype prints from the 1840’s.
My personal family tree goes back to tin types. I have several that were passed down to me from my grandmother. There’s a magic that happens when I hold a piece of tin with an image of a long lost relative on it. Being able to compare their features to mine and knowing that they once held that same image in their hands so many years ago, is incredible. It provides a connection directly from you to them. It’s elongates the memory of their life.
I was recently flipping through my parents’ wedding album, as I had done so many times as a child. I recall turning page after page, unable to fully grasp that those people in the pictures were my parents. They were so YOUNG!
It’s funny to remember that feeling as I turn the pages with adult eyes. They look exactly like themselves. Younger? Yes, With questionable fashion choices? SUPER yes. But they are perfectly recognizable as my parents, youthful and in love at the beginning of their story. I adore that this relic is still around, and I am so sad that I don’t have an album to look through belonging to my grandparents, or great grandparents. I am thrilled to know that my great grandchildren WILL have so many more documented memories to give them a glimpse into my life long after it is expired.
I know with certainty that there are many more captured memories and moments in this time than there were in the past. Just based on the advances in technology, that is common sense. The easier it gets to snap a picture, the more there will be to put out in the world. However, in my opinion, technological advances do come with a downfall. The most pressing of issues is that far fewer people are putting those images into print. They exist only in the digital world; a dichotomy of permanence (the things you post on the internet can haunt you forever), and the risky world of failed hard drives and unrecoverable data.
Years ago, before I knew better, and thankfully before I took professional photos, I had a hard drive crash with no files able to be recovered. Every image that I had from the previous 5 years were stored on that hard drive. It was like someone had erased the last 5 years of my life. All of those captured memories vanished without a trace – never to be seen again by anyone. That is tragic – and for me it was. I grieved the loss of those images; those reminders of experiences, relationships, and feelings.
What all of this has taught me is: make your memories physical. It is so important to create tangible evidence of your life’s favorite moments. Have a professional create quality, long lasting prints of your favorite memories for you and your family to be able to hold. Get a wedding album and cherish it. Treat these photos and albums like the heirlooms they are. Provide your future family members the sense of wonder that comes from holding an image of your life in their hands. Help nourish the connection from you to them, and preserve the memory of your life.