Photographic Memories

Like many, many people, I Facebook.

I actually held out for a long time.  But finally, when my email flow had all but dried up, when I grew tired of being the last to know, and fascination got the better of me, I folded and signed up for the social networking site.  And instantly, I was hooked.  I was amazed (and still am) at the people from high school, university, drama groups and beyond that sent me friend requests.  Eventually I got up the nerve to start sending requests of my own to long lost friends, and some of my most frequent (and relevant) commenters are people who's friendships I valued very much but had drifted apart from due to time, geography, and life.  And so, while I acknowledge that there is a lot about Facebook that gets on my nerves, I freely admit that I love Facebook and enjoy my daily (erhm, make that twice, thrice, oh leave me alone, I live 6000 miles from home) fix!

One of my favorite things about Facebook is pictures.  I'm talking about the well put together albums with obvious thought behind them that share something relevant, not the ridiculous dumping of hundreds of mobile phone party pics.  As mentioned above, I live far, far from home, and pictures help me feel "part of the loop."  Also interesting are the occasional "old" pictures that people post.  Yearbook photos, baby pictures, even snaps from high school, stumbling across a blast from the past always makes me smile.  Especially since it means that someone went through the trouble of sitting down with their scanner and a shoebox (or two or three) of pictures and scanning them in.

A few years ago, before one of our bi-annual family reunions, my aunt Merle tackled a huge pile of family photos and digitally captured them.  I shudder to think how long it took her, but I'm really grateful she did this.  Photos, after all, are simply paper with photographic emulsion, and are famously vulnerable to moisture and time.  Anyone who's ever opened a photo album or scrapbook only to find it's pages sealed and it's precious memories destroyed knows the value of digital images.

I was delighted when, a few weeks ago, my aunt started uploading many of these images to her Facebook albums.  Reading my family's comments, and adding my own, was almost like an online family reunion.  Some photos made me laugh out loud, others made me cry.  But there was one photo that made me stop, froze my fingers on my keypad, and transported me back 28 years to a time before scanners, external hard drives, and social networking...
From left, me, my mother Arlene, and my sister Jamie
I'm six in this photo.  Jamie and I are wearing our new Lopi sweaters that our Nana Maxner had knit for us.  Our hats are souvenirs from a trip to a Mennonite village in Saskatchewan the year before.  I remember this afternoon well; there are actually quite a few pictures floating around of Jamie and I running around our grandparent's back yard in our new sweaters on a picture perfect Cape Breton autumn afternoon.  I suspect this picture was taken at the end of the photo session, as Jamie looks decidedly tired and I am gazing dreamily at the stick I am holding.  (I liked sticks a lot as a kid.  Always had one lying around.)  We are content to sit still on a sun warmed rock while the photographer captures one image of us with our Mom, looking casually stylish in a hand knit sweater of her own.

Finding this photo made me happy.  As I am busy setting up my new home, I am of course perusing our artwork and trying to decide what to put where, and what new should I add?  I have been toying around with the idea of putting out some new pictures of both of our families, especially ones like these, which, while not perfectly composed in a photographer's studio, capture more light, love, and emotion than any well-lit Photo Shopped creation in an artful brushed steel frame.  I'll be adding this jpeg to my zip drive and printing it off soon, so as to proudly display a vintage memory in my modern home.

1 comment:

  1. Aren't Merle's pics great? I have that bunch of pics of Dad that I scanned in, but I'm planning to tackle the rest of the albums this summer! I love having them! Great post.


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