The holidays and year’s end are always a time of reflection; we exclaim about how quickly the year has flown by, then spend some time remembering the events of the past months and all that happened as we moved through our days.
Often when visiting my mom, my daughter and I sift through old family photos, reflecting on times gone by. It’s a different type of remembering, spanning years, decades, generations. Many of the photos capture moments in time we didn’t even remember until we’re holding them in our hands.
Or perhaps we don’t remember them at all–having been too young–but someone chose to press the shutter on that moment for the future. Birthdays and holidays seem to be key times for documenting with photos. Because of this repetition, there’s a thread of connection that brings a sense of time travel as we make our way through these grainy images.
One thing that strikes me, as I comb through the stacks, is that these are not perfectly planned and executed images. They are truly snapshots , life as it really was in that moment, imperfect and perhaps a little messy. Out of focus, off-center framing, eyes looking away from the camera? For me, it’s part of the charm and fascination of seeing real moments. Clothing, hairstyles, home decor and more are documented for posterity. (Remember that coffee table? See the handmade stocking? How about those matching velvet dresses?)
In this age of highly-curated Instagram posts and the pressure to present only the very best images, these quick snapshots of daily life are refreshing to me. It’s been noted that the age of digital photography has put an end to the sharing of less-than-perfect images. Instead, we take and retake the shot until it’s made to our satisfaction, and the outtakes are sent to the digital trash can.
My dad loved photography and honed his skills to produce some amazing images over his lifetime…yet I’m fairly certain he had a hand in capturing these simple times of celebration, too. My grandmother was famous for saying, “Bring me my Kodak!” when we visited, as she loved having reminders of her children and grandchildren to keep her company when we weren’t around. (Her Christmas Eve birthday gave us twice the reason to celebrate!)
This holiday season, I wish for you the joy found in making memories with friends and family–and I hope you’ll allow some perfectly imperfect images to be made in the process.