Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wabe: Sometimes, memories aren’t enough

WE WERE on the car on the way to the airport headed for another summer getaway, when my middle son said to the youngest: “Prepare for lots of photos. Lolo and mom are combining forces. There’s no escape!” His tone was full of disdain and he was definitely not thrilled. Yep, he got it right: I did get my love for photography from his grandpa.

My teenagers are at an age where they have an aversion to having their pics taken (by me). Any pics I post on my FB newsfeed are usually subject to their approval. But there are days when I feel like “annoying” them, so I just go ahead and share. Thankfully, I still have a 5-yr old who gamely smiles for the camera. But, at times (rarely), he gets influenced by his older siblings; so he complains too.

Argh! What is so wrong with picture-taking? My children indeed have the capacity to bring out both the best and the beast in me. And because they say they hate photos, I irritate them even more with my “s-mothering” and keep on snapping endless photographs. Take that!

Sometimes, memories aren’t enough. There is a need to preserve them on digital format, or even better, hard copy because our memories are not infinite. And worst case scenario, as we push into adulthood, there’s dementia or forgetfulness to contend with. It is a sad reality that one day, all of us may potentially not remember the phenomenal things that we have seen with our own two eyes. That’s just the natural progression of life!

Thankfully, we have the power of photos at our disposal to help us remember. As they, pictures can paint a thousand words. We can always tell other people about our experiences, but sometimes, it is very hard to show someone exactly what it was like in a particular moment. It is better to show them than describe it to them because, as we often hear, seeing is believing.

Pictures help relive the experience and ignite the feeling we once had. On top of that, photographs have the ability to move not just the subjects of the photographs, but also the people looking at the photo. Just imagine a child who has lost a mother looking at her old pictures.

Ask anyone around you what personal items they would rescue in case of a fire, and it is a pretty safe bet to declare that most people would say photo albums or hard disks with photos are the treasures they would risk life and limb in saving. If not that, then chances are, they have backed up these mementos on i-cloud service.

This impulse to preserve our memories is indicative of just how essential photography is in all of our lives. Our strong desire to imprint our most precious moments into images tells us all what the real important stuff are. It’s never about the material things and possessions. It’s certainly all about the moments we’ve shared with the people we love!

Personally, for me, taking photos do not just help me remember my memories. The act of actively documenting everything—from big events like birthdays, bapstim, Christmas, etc., to small daily things like what I ate or my child’s artwork—help me appreciate my life more. Photos urge me to look at the positive stuff because majority of the stuff I document are of the ones that make me smile.

Even the moments that bring sadness, which when I manage to snap, bring some sort of cathartic release. Moreover, I realize that even in moments of great sorrow, looking at my images have the power to lift up my spirits. That’s when it is reinforced that I do indeed have a lot of blessings. These daily photos remind me that all days may not be good, but there is always at least one good thing in every single day.

I don't know about you, but I take more pictures than ever now that smartphones have made photography so much easier. It used to be time consuming and expensive to snap photos with film, have them developed (or develop them yourself which we did back in college), and then put them in albums. Back then, we can’t even check if our smiles were okay; we just see the final outcome when the film has been printed. Now, we can take limiltess pics of anything we want, which can be made into photobooks that look professionally done.

In today’s digital age, we are very lucky that photographs are the cheap and convenient way to record and share not just big moments, but everything in between. Even the little moments that are precious but swiftly forgotten can now easily be preserved. And thanks to FB memories, we can just as quickly be reminded and transported back into time. Framing the world around us now can be done by just about anyone due to technology. So don’t be ashamed to take lots of photos. When a moment passes you by, the only thing you will regret is not having taken that shot.

So come on, pose, 1-2-3, click!

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