A terrible thing has just happened. I uploaded all my France holiday photos onto my computer (or so I thought), glanced at the album to check they were there, then deleted them all from my memory card. Then I looked through the album and realised over half had disappeared. Where they went, I have no idea. Whether they can be recovered from the memory card, I don’t know (though the ever-wonderful Ste thinks he can get them back for me. Do not know what I would do without this guy!). What I do know is that I am bereft, and on the verge of tears, over lost photographs.
This seems a bit crazy if I think about it, but the extremely strong emotional reaction this has stirred has got me thinking about what photos mean to me. Why am I so gutted to have lost pictures of a trip which ultimately is in my memory too, which I lived through and experienced, and enjoyed in person? Why does the loss of the record of it hurt so much? It seems particularly silly in this day and age, where every aspect of our lives is recorded in photos on our phone, and shared on Instagram or Facebook. The photograph itself in some cases becomes more than the moment itself. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve found myself watching gigs through a lens trying to get a great shot, rather than taking in the entire experience then and there. Photos these days aren’t what they used to be – a lovely reminder of an occasion – these days, they can be the occasion!
I have always loved taking photos, and as a child used to print them all out, painstakingly arrange them in albums, and often sit looking back through them. Even nowadays, finding an old folder of photos from years past can take me straight back there, to those days, those times, those friends. They’re like a little window onto past Anna, my own personal time machine through my life, taking me to whatever date and moment I choose. Even now, looking through my Instagram feed of things I just did last week that are still crystal in my memory makes me happy, reminding me of all the beauty in my life (luckily Instagram is a filter in itself – the ugly doesn’t get a look in). I suppose I am a very visual person, I can spend hours looking at a nice view, or sometimes staring into a glass at a reflection or pattern or just appreciating colour contrasts, so it’s no surprise that I am drawn to photography, but realising the degree of my attachment to the photographs themselves was a bit of a shock. It’s almost like that little part of my timeline has been erased, because the record of it isn’t there anymore.
It’s particularly silly because I never really do anything with my photos – I’ve not routinely printed them out since I was at university, and my albums on my computer are hardly archived properly (it’s been on the to-do list forever). I don’t often frame one or hang it on the wall, but I know that if I want to relive the moment, it’s there (somewhere) on my computer. [Which reminds me, must back up computer!] This episode has made me want to finally get on with organising the albums, and choose my favourites to print out, or turn into photobooks (a brilliant idea). I did recently get a few Instagram shots printed out as magnets via Sticky9 (more on that another time) and I love seeing them on my fridge, so maybe I need to think of a place in our new home for a gallery wall of memories so I can make the most of my photos.
Ironically, for a post about photos, this has none! I’ll remedy that with one which encapsulates the main reason I love photographs – remembering those you’ve loved. This little man was only a tiny pup back when this was taken, but sadly recently passed away, and photos and memories are all we have left.
What do photographs mean to you? Are you as emotionally attached to them as I am (please tell me I’m not alone in this!)? Do you print them all out and keep them safe? What are your favourite ways to use them? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.
Ste is indeed wonderful, and has rescued all the missing photos for me! He is a genius. I am over the moon, especially because now I can re-live the beauty (and memory of the taste) of these bad boys:
Post on our trip will now follow shortly!