Typically, my family begins to “duck and cover” when they see me coming with the camera. They realize that eventually they will end up in one or more of my photographs regardless of their efforts to dodge me. Truth be told, however, they really enjoy looking at the pictures later as they recall the fun of the day. It has been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and I couldn’t agree more. Recently we have been doing some deep-cleaning around our house, and have come across some very special photographs and even videos. Moments are captured on film that will forever be etched in our hearts.
Not long ago we were having a family discussion about which of our boys actually put out his first birthday candle with his hand. He didn’t blow it out – he simply reached out and snuffed it out with his tiny palm. For many years we’ve told the story as if it were our oldest son on his first birthday. But alas, the video of the event recently emerged and it turns out to have been our middle son. The expressions on all of our faces as we watched with horror were priceless. Faces that we would never have been able to recall had they not been captured permanently on film.
In addition to simply helping with the accuracy of things that happen, pictures and video help us to recall loved ones who have gone on before us. Hearing the laughter of my mother-in-law, seeing the mischievous glint in my grandmother’s eye, and watching the interaction of our loving family are all made possible through videos. Likewise we can remember with greater detail how a loved one or favorite vacation spot looked at that one special moment in time when we glance at a photograph. No event is too mundane to capture permanently.
Recently I heard a discussion about taking pictures and videos at events or gatherings. One person commented that they would rather “actually enjoy the moment and experience” than take pictures of it. I remember thinking that I have no idea why you can’t do both. As you mill around the room taking photographs, you likely interact with more people and get to experience different perspectives. You take the time to really look at people and things around you, and you can review the event for many days to come.
Watching our family videos has been a truly moving experience for my husband and me. Holidays spent at the house that I grew up in, or precious moments spent in the homes that we have lived in together. Video footage of our boys as babies, and watching as they learned how to ride their bicycles. Sled riding and making snow angels in the front yard, playing on a slip-n-slide in the back, or swimming on vacation. It’s all there. Things we could have never remembered nearly as clearly without being able to watch it again twenty years later.
Admittedly, we’ve shed a few tears as we’ve watched these precious tapes and looked through the photographs. A few times my husband has had to leave the room as the memory of his parents came flooding back in an overwhelming rush. I’ve longed to once again rock my babies in my arms and to hug the necks of my grandparents. But amidst all of the emotion is an incredibly strong comfort in knowing that they will always be with us; not just in our memories but also in the tangible means captured by camera. Moments that we can pass along and share with many generations to come.
So next time you see me coming with the camera, simply smile and wave. J