Years ago I would sit with my Grandma and go through hundreds of photographs. She took pictures of everything. Every vacation, every holiday, every time anyone showed up in a costume for Halloween. She even had photos of when her Christmas cactus would bloom. She took pictures. Always. So many.
Not much different from how we are now, really.
Back then, we didn't have digital cameras, cell phones or "the cloud" to store endless amounts of digital pictures on that we would soon forget about. The process was much longer. 24 photos. That's all you got sometimes. Fill a roll, take it to the store, wait a week, pick up your prints. Meanwhile, having no idea if someone blinked or if the lighting was actually bad and oh man if the flash didn't go off, well crap. The anticipation. The excitement of opening that envelope. She had many little sleeve albums to slide each photo into. Getting your photo on Grandma's fridge or into one of her many frames was an honor.
My Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years later. Watching her go through those photos and remember every single person, every single moment, every single place while not remembering where she left her coffee cup was quite bittersweet. Before long, she no longer could remember every single person, every single moment or every single place.
My Grandma has since passed away but has left behind hundreds of photographs for us to look through. So many memories. Boxes full. Photos of how we grew up through her eyes. The places she has been. The people that she loved. The big family group photos. All of us. Right there.
Something I noticed was how many photos my Grandma was in. I can still hear her voice, telling Grandpa to "take a picture".
She was in many, and certain ones stand out. All the memories she wanted to hold on to. All for her to remember.
For us all to remember her.
We miss her terribly but are thankful for the photographs. They are as close to a time machine as I think we'll ever get.
Things have sure changed over the years. From the way we capture a simple moment to how we have professional portraits taken. How we take photos and display them. Things aren't so stuffy. There are less pleated pants and more tattered jeans. We capture a moment, not just a pose. We laugh and play and smile because things are funny not forced.
I hope and pray that everyone has a box of photos to go through some day. Make it happen. Holding a photo in your hand is nothing compared to staring at it on a screen. Yes, even just those little 4x6 prints. Get them. Put them on the fridge, send them to Grandma. Print your photos.
Don't think that making everyone gather for a photo is silly. Bother. Capture those moments that are gone before you know it.
I'd love to help you. I really really would.