Power Of A Picture
Cell phones with wonderful cameras, point-and-shoot, mirrorless and wireless. Big lenses, small lenses, wide lenses and tiny lenses, what are lenses and who cares lenses. What camera should I buy? If I get one big enough can I be a photographer too? Where, oh where should I buy? Online or specialty shop, big box or little box but maybe Walmart or Target will do.
It’s all so very confusing so most of the time it is usually a choice that is embarrassingly close to random. Despite our best intentions it rarely comes out of automatic mode no matter how much money we spent or how great the camera was or wasn’t. So often it ends up collecting dust and we resort back to the cell phone camera or none at all because pictures are a pain and we all know there is never any convenient time to take them. We all dislike the person who is always snapping away and getting people together with “Now smile and look at the camera.” Wow, yes that didn’t look forced or painful or anything.
According to Buzzfeed an estimated 3.8 trillion photographs have been taken. In 2014 alone 880 billion, or more than 10% ever taken. The numbers continue to escalate at a mind blowing exponential rate. So, in that tsunami of pictures there is without a doubt an overload of amazing captures correct? I mean even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while right? The sad truth is that as the proliferation of photographs continues to explode, the quality of the pictures continues to sharply fall off. The intentionality and careful capturing of life’s great moments is replaced with complete randomness, shot at the speed of an assault weapon on full auto. The instantaneous gratification of split second pictures has become the rule of the day and the shelf life of a photograph is how long it takes you to get bored and replace your profile picture with another mindless blurry selfie.
Recently my family experienced the loss of a loved one to cancer. In the process of healing we went through immense volumes of pictures. The telling and retelling of family history and the emotions it carried with it was amazing in binding up the wounds of a fractured family. One of the most arresting pictures featured my parents. Twenty three years ago Dad was tragically taken in a car accident. The thing most moving in the picture was his striking resemblance to my son, who never had the opportunity to meet his Grandfather. When he saw the photograph he was stunned and said “I have never seen a picture of them that young.” The connection to the legacy of his grandfather was incredibly powerful, a kinship I now share with him. Across the decades of time a young man starting his own fledgling family is now profoundly rooted to where he came from, thanks to the power of a picture.
Time has a way of indelibly stamping our lives with change bringing to us pain, loss and heartache, offset by accomplishment, joy and love. I cannot predict precisely what tomorrow holds but I can most certainly and with unwavering accuracy tell you it will bring irreversible change. The value of capturing life as we know it with all it issues and struggles will never be exactly like it is today. Especially in those life changing moments why not be intentional and plan to capture and preserve your story for those that will follow? With your own personal works of art instead of the weirdly distorted cell phone selfie or the shadowed captures in front of the bay window in the living room?
Keywords: Buzzfeed, Family, Grandfather, Grandson, Legacy, Memories, Photography, Portrait, cellphone, death, funeral, good intentions, loss, preserve, selfie
What a great story and so neat for your son to see such a resemblance!
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