Sunday, 9 August 2015

A Picture Tells A Thousand Stories

This one acts as a reminder that doors are supposed to be closed at night...

My best friends have this little joke they like to share about me whenever we get together.  "We'll get home," they'll all say, "and half an hour later, the photos from today will be up on Facebook."

It's a fair comment.  I'm one of those annoying people who always has her camera in her bag and is forever looking out for a good photo opportunity.  I may not own a selfie-stick, but that doesn't mean that I don't take more than my fair share and every time my friend Lizzie and I come home from Butlin's, I spend at least an hour editing photos on my laptop and uploading them to Facebook (saving the best ones on my camera to be printed out later).  There's a shelf in my room that's pretty much groaning under the weight of several photo albums, all of which are packed with pictures taken over the years - complete with little handwritten notes beside each photograph, serving as a handy reminder of where and when it was taken.

And this photo might be a handy reminder not to eat as much cake as I do, these days...

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for me, it's not simply words.  A picture can bring back a thousand memories, or tell a thousand stories.  When I look through my photo albums, I don't just see dozens of pictures of me and my friends or family in similar places, doing similar things.  I see reminders of days out, in-jokes, times gone by and people lost along the way.  I can judge by the clothes, hairdos or even the colour of the walls in our house as to when the picture was taken and from simply knowing the date (roughly, if I haven't scribbled down the exact date beside the photograph in the album...), I can remind myself of where I was in my life at that time, right down to where I was working, whether I had a crush on anyone or whether it was pre or post abuse (because when you've been through a life-changing event like that, you do tend to look at yourself as two different versions - pre and post).

A photograph can make you laugh, or even make you cringe.  It can cause you to wonder what on Earth you were thinking with your outfit choice, or what the heck you were doing when it comes to the bizarre pose you're pulling.  

A photograph can make you cry.  It can vividly remind you of a person who's no longer around.  It can bring back profound memories of what that person meant to you.  And of course, a photograph of someone who hurt you can cause enormous pain, if accidentally discovered.

For me, a photograph is not merely an image, printed out and stuck in a book.  It's a snapshot of a moment in time.  A memory, preserved forever.

Even if that memory is of thinking you might be about to plummet to your doom...

Yesterday, a friend gave me two new photo albums, complete with spaces for handwritten notes beside each picture I put in.  I have a whole load of photographs to sort out and stick in to the new albums and I'm genuinely excited about getting on with that little project for the afternoon, because I know that every photo I look at will bring back its own memories and cause me to smile, on an otherwise very grey and dull Sunday.

Everything we do - every place we go, every person we meet along the way - shapes us, even if only in a small way.  Pictures help to remind us of the journey we've been on.  And for every step of the journey left ahead, you can bet I'll have my camera with me...

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