Great nostalgia is found in photos. There were quarter generated booths which quickly snapped friends, family and lovers who squeezed onto wooden stools, flash cubes, flash bulbs and Polaroid portraits. Indeed there is a memory somewhere mostly likely black and white, which will forever be in your heart. If you are lucky however, it is also tucked into an album, envelope, hat box, drawer or hard drive.
I am one of those lucky ones who have all of the above, along with slides, negatives, prints, digital images and color copies of those people and places that became souvenirs of my life’s journey. I also carry them in my heart and pray when I leave this life they will be imprinted in my soul. I guess that would be a more intense way of saying, “Take” my picture – literally, into your heart and forever let me be a part of you. I like that – well, with the exception of those grade school and junior high moments wherein I resemble a work in progress that never progressed.
There are certain pictures I have taken over the years, with whatever current camera contraption was vogue at the moment, that rose above just nostalgia or memory. Those are pictures of developed emotion, showing exactly how deep the rivers of life truly are that run through our veins. Those are the pictures that ask to be taken and they stand above all others. Time, Look and Life magazines all knew about these photos and successfully touched the world with images from select photographers over the years. Indeed, the magazines did well, but it was the photographer who was forever changed by the moment, because after all anyone can look into a camera, it is a moment that looks into the photographer.
As my father lay dying in hospice, his smile never left him. When I went the last time for his groceries, I turned and snapped a digital photo. How do you put into words, a look that passed the lens, through my eyes and into my heart and soul? A moment that was just for me? In death, he gave me life. I look at that photo often and I am never sad, the look in his face said it all – “I will always love you and always be a part of you.” In that moment I was complete. That was the first time I realized how intense and privileged it is to hear those three little words from someone: “take my picture.”
After that photo, I looked back and found other pictures like this that would forever be just mine. Pets with unconditional knowledge of my love, children who wanted me to know they were my life, regardless what would happen at 13, 18 and 21 and friends, family and lovers, who without a word reminded me they were signposts on my path of life. Quality always the key over quantity this album will never reach multiple volume status. I heard a photographer once call a photo “the money shot,” and I knew it was one of these where the moment and the man connected and smiled.
Today I was a grandmother when I aimed my camera, unable to articulate the words, my grand daughter looked up into my eyes and it was there, tears welled in my eyes. There was no magazine to profit but yes, it was Time – Look – Life, and it will forever be in my soul as having been directly trusted, loved and wanted through beautiful innocent eyes and a soul who knows I will forever be there for her, connected, regardless what develops from that moment on.
****For a humorous read – check out my new book, “My Life Has Been A waist”****