Saturday, January 5, 2013

Old Photographs – Instant Replay

My grandmother
I did a blog some time ago with this title: "Photographs -- Instant Replay" that included many old photos. To date, it is still my most popular blog, and people continue to find it on search engines. I decided to repeat that blog for those who remember and may enjoy reading it again.

The text was written following a tragic divorce and came to me as I sorted through old photographs. Enjoy!

Surrounded by old photographs, my past envelops me with a sudden rush of remembrance. Here we are family and friends captured in a brief, fleeting moment singled out from the countless hours, days, and weeks that make up our lives.

How happy we look smiling for the camera. How hopeful for the future as we pose here together, frozen for eternity in a fraction of a second and the flash of a camera. One click and an infinitesimal moment is recorded for posterity. Tomorrow’s pain and unfulfilled promises are unforeseen, unanticipated.

Photographs are given far more importance than they deserve. We use them to document our lives; perhaps even to define us. Then when relationships crumble and children move on into adulthood with their own lives and preoccupations, the frozen images smile back mocking the reality of what is now – what is today.

The life we once had -- was it dream or illusion? Who are these people smiling at us now – these people caught in a millisecond of time?

Photographs wear with age, their brightness fades and their corners become tattered and yellowed; but the images continue to smile at us as they did long ago when the shutter closed and captured one shared smile, one shared space, and one microcosmic second in a lifetime.

We have all changed since those first pictures were taken. We are older, and perhaps wiser. Photographs provide proof that we have lived, but they can never tell others who we really are. Photographs are, after all, only superficial shards of the life we leave behind.