A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.
– Eudora Welty
About five years ago, I decided to look through our family snapshots. I can’t remember exactly what triggered it but there were a few boxes and I scanned all of the interesting ones I could find.
I’ve always felt family photos to be precious. I don’t care if they’re poorly composed or the framing is off. Like us, these images have their individual quirks and it’s the quirks that make them interesting. Time stands still and so do people in photographs. Snapshots have the power to jolt memories and start conversations. These pictures are a part of who I am. In them, I can see where I come from. I can’t imagine not knowing what my grandfather looked like. I never knew him but I can see I have his nose. In my parent’s dining room, there are photos from their wedding. This happened years before I was born but because these images exist, I can experience a part of it with them.
Family snapshots capture a sense of belonging, of camaraderie. There’s a lot of love in them but also there are the petty annoyances, people caught off-guard, smiles slipping, boredom, routine, the stuff of life. They can tell us so much about our family structures, our relationships and ourselves.
I don’t just look at the thing itself or at the reality itself; I look around the edges for those little askew moments – kind of like what makes up our lives – those slightly awkward, lovely moments. – Keith Carter
It’s important that we look for inspiration in our homes and in our hearts, as well as in the obvious places. Go through those old photographs gathering dust in cupboards and cardboard boxes.
Keep taking photos to add to family albums or that folder on your desktop. Use them to start conversations.
Who knows what you’ll discover.