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December 14, 2015

Over the past week or so there have been several times when I have thought about and talked about photos.  It started with the need to find photographs of myself and 2 other friends to include as part of a birthday gift.  It turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated for a number of reasons.

Reason number one – apparently we stopped taking photos at some point. There were many photos from our university days.  Photos from parties, from road trips, from just crazy silly moments.  It was there era of our lives when everything was event and photo worthy.   And despite weddings and birthdays and weekends at the cottage that have continued to happen in the 15 years since that era, the photos are few and far between.

Reason number two – we don’t print doubles like we used to.  When looking for photos, there were things that I had multiple copies of (yes I do apparently have a problem with throwing things out).  When you had to take the film to the photo place and have them developed, often it was just as easy to get doubles right away.  All these doubles mean that there are still copies floating around that I could include in this birthday gift.  Another feature of the “doubles” is that among my friends, we have many of the same photos in our albums.

Reason number three – despite having more photos, I actually have fewer.  I take photos on my phone all the time, as many of us do.  But the vast majority of these photos have never been organized or printed or even sorted through.  Perhaps if I had done some sorting and reviewing, I would have realized that there are gaps in my photo history over the past 15 years.  I might have noticed that there were no photos of myself and these 2 friends.  Had I been forced to spend a day or two writing on the back of printed photos and putting them into album maybe I would have noticed that I haven’t done a good job of chronicling my life in pictures.

This reflect is inspiring me to do a couple of things differently in the coming years.  For starters I’m gong to be more intentional about taking photos of people and events.  Events big and small.  I’m gong to remember that era when everything was an event and we all loved to pose with our arms around each other, smiling for the camera.  Secondly, I’m going to turn at least some of my digital photos into something tangible.  Maybe in a photo book, maybe in frames on the wall, I’m not entirely sure yet what this will look like, but I’m committed to ensuring there is photographic evidence of my 40s in a way there doesn’t appear to be photos from my 30s.

There was a time when we all go excited about picking up that envelop of photos from the developer, of standing in the store flipping through the pile of photos smiling and remembering the moments, of spending a winter Sunday afternoon putting photos in an album.  There is something to those routines, that with all our digital capabilities needs to be retained.

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