Updated: Nov 23, 2022
From the Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford film, "The Way We Were" and composed by Marvin Hamlisch.
I can just about remember going to see the film in the Odeon Cinema in Hereford. Photography is about making memories. Memories of childhood, parents, weddings, birthdays, parties, opening a business, getting your new house, and a million other things.
We have several boxes filled with the funny little envelopes that the printed photos used to arrive in, in the post. It was so exciting! We would never know just how the photos would turn out out, until they came in the post. Almost all of the shots I took, are barely average family snaps. But, they are so important. Because without them the colour, my misty coloured memories, would not be there. So much of my children's time growing up is encapsulated by "do you remember?" and I can remember snippets. Go and get the box of photos out and those misty memories become full colour vibrant recollections, not just a moment in time, but the whole day and everything around it. The smell, the taste, all the people who were there, some of whom are no longer with us, all the textures of the event. Each photo is like a memory stick plugged into my mind, bringing back all of those memories - I love it. A cold winters afternoon, get the kettle on, and make some tea. Get the boxes down from the shelf and go through them, well some of them, as there are thousands of them.
Nowadays we don't print photos very much, although we have several collages around the house. We keep our photos as digital files. I imagine for a great many people, they take the image, look at it, maybe if we are lucky we post it somewhere on social media, and that's it. If you are a user of social media, it is an easy way to store your images. Old ones pop up from time to time in our feeds, or we can scroll back through them. My first post to Facebook was in 2009.
My favorite way to view my photos is as a screen saver. I love this, the photos are randomly selected from the tens of thousands of images I have stored on my computer. A very important point here. They are backed up, onto a second drive in the PC, an external drive and to Google Images. All my commercial images are also backed up in three separate places, two offline!
When I was a child, photography was equally important. My Grandfather loved taking photos, he had a Kodak Brownie, which made small and meaningful images. And again my sister has boxes of these photos which were collected by my mother. However, There are very few photos of her, and even less of my father. Here I think that it was my dad who took most of the family photos, so course he is not in them. For that past 60 years this has not been an issue. But my Dad died in 2003 and Mum in 2018. Now the photos I have of them are really important, because my memories of them are becoming misty!
This is a Mum with my sisters, before I was born. Probably taken by my Dad in South Africa. She has a "BOAC" bag over her shoulder and a balloon to keep the girls happy. This is my only information, apart from the few stories, of their time there. Probably 1955ish
As this was taken before I was born, I would have had no idea that she looked like that. I can see her features even in her great grandchildren. This I think, is an incredible bit of history, a memory of a life I knew nothing about.
This is quite technically poor, as there is some sort of post sticking up through the image. But what a photo! As children, most of us, aren't at our parents wedding. Again, without the photos we have no idea what it all looked like. Dad was a pilot in the RAF at this time, the shine of his shoes reflects that! They were married for just over 50 years
This was apparently taken that day that Dad got his pilots wings. Obviously before they had got to the pub
It was taken in the Pilots mess at RAF Leuchars in Scotland. He has a tie on in this shot. He loved those type of things and wore a cravat right up to the end of his life. I feel a great sense of pride looking at this picture of him. Both my parents worked extremely hard all their lives, to give us, as children the best that they could. Sometimes at great cost! This image is about a part of his life that he never told anyone about. I gathered a few snippets over the years, as he suffered from PTSD for the rest of his life.
This is one of my very last images of Mum. I had just bought a new camera. I mentioned to her that the Flying Scotsman was coming through Hereford. She said that she had been on it, but not seen it. I arranged to escape her from the home where she was living. We sat in one of her grandchildren's allotments, right next to the tracks and watched the majestic train. She loved it!
When Mum passed away, she was determined that we should celebrate her life, we had quite a party. We knew as a family, that it might be the last time that our whole family, was all together in the same place. People came from all over the country. I intentionally set about getting everyone's photos. It was a bit like a wedding with set family shots, portraits and so forth. However, the photos of that day, will remind me of our now, huge family and all the lovely people therein.
These are very personal memories. I have used them to show just how important photography is. Its a tiny bit about the technicalities and massively about the memories.
We know from Police interviews and witness statements, and then video evidence just how poor our visual memory actually is, probably because we aren't paying enough attention. The camera misses nothing. I often get photos with a rubbish bin in the corner or some other detritus, I really don't want.
We must all take photos, get photos taken, make images but most importantly make memories!