So Why Are Photographs So Important?

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about this question and the reasons why I find my love of photography such a rewarding and valuable profession. 

The older you get the faster it seems to go and the faster it goes the more details seem to get erased. I suppose on reflection this can sometimes be a good thing, however, for the good moments it is hard to let those memories slip so fast from our minds. 

Today I came across old stories waiting to be retold. The photographs were taken on my Nan’s wedding day. I had questions. Who were some of these people in the pictures? Where are they now? And then I looked at my Nan. She looked so much taller then how I knew her. She was very pretty and it looked like such a wonderful day. Prior to being a Mother herself, my Nan was a leading aircraft woman in the WRAF and married her husband, my Grandfather in the early 1950’s. I never met him and unfortunatley my Nan died a few years ago. 


As I grew up my Nan was a big part of my life. She took me on days out, we went blackberry picking in the surrounding fields by her house and spent summer days going to Anchor head to collect pebbles and trips on the Open top ‘Windy’ Bus. If I was good she would let me to sit in her ‘magic’ chair in the lounge and then as I got older we baked her famous chocolate cake and hot sauce together. She collected 20 pence's in a tube that she always asked me to count for her and she always told me my brain would fry if I sat near the microwave!

She was also a big collector of dolls and they were all proudly displayed in a cabinet in her lounge. They were all different and each had their own story but none of the grandchildren were allowed to play with them. 

We each had our favourite but the dancing doll was the most popular with us all. When she got her out, I remember the mechanics being so noisy as she wound her up and then let her free as she danced in circles.

She wore a black, white and red dress, with two plaits in her hair and a little lace bonnet. One arm always hung limp and lower than the other one. I could have watched her dance for hours. 

When my Nan died I was given several photographs of her from the 1950’s from when she was in the WRAF. She was in the P.T. Display team and also the WRAF Netball Team. I always played Netball at school and for Weston as I got older. In all the years that I was growing up she never mentioned that she played for the WRAF Netball team or won competitions yet these memories must have been important for her to have kept them safe for so many years. These images show her happy, youthful and adventurous.

So how am I able to remember and be part of these moments? 

Because somebody cared enough to take and develop pictures like these. Somebody printed on paper the face of this lady I love and because they did, I now have them in my possession, years later, to show my children…so they too can remember her. I have many photographs of her that I was not a part of. Times that were recorded before even her children were born. But she still lives on paper.

When I close my eyes and think of loved ones that are no longer with me I can only see what my mind allows me to remember of them. 

But...I will always remember this wonderful woman. Her good nature and sense of humour, day trips out when I was small and the moment she held my children for the very first time. 

Why?

Because I have these photographs. I'll never forget those moments, and I have the photos to remind me of that.

 

So, please, print what you want to remember.

If you don’t think photographs are important now, wait until they are all you have left.

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