The other day, while unpacking I found a photograph of myself sitting inside an old book. A photo that had been taken about 20 years ago. I must admit to sitting and gazing at this younger, more-smiling version of myself for some time. All the time experiencing this feeling of joy and wonder. It was as though I was looking back in time, to a less complicated period when I had looked at life with more innocent, more hopeful eyes. And just the realisation of that evoked all the forgotten, buried facets of youth I had thought I had lost.
My Dad, my grandparents and most of my uncles and aunts are no more. But looking through old albums seeing them smiling or even unsmiling looking back at me, reties in me frayed connections with my family. Rekindles feelings of kinship that tend to die down when you live far away from most of your family. I feel blessed to be part of this tree of which I am a branch and grateful that those photos were taken and preserved.
But now, whole libraries of digital photos languish on hard drives and flash drives. Getting lost or getting corrupted. Or forgotten. What if one day you are no more and your family and friends can’t find a photo to remember you with. To remind them of old times, good times with you.
Which is why it is so important to exist in printed photos.