As a wedding photographer I remember a lot of my childhood scavenging for our family photographs amongst cardboard shoe boxes and albums. I was the teenager that created floor to ceiling collages in her room of photographs of my friends, family, famous people, and drawings. It had to be every few months that I would take out our cardboard shoe box out of the closet and peruse through the photographs of my parents, before they were parents, and then the first moments that they became parents. I never got tired of looking at these photographs and I understood the importance of photography before I had too. The importance of photography and cherishing these 4x6s that I flipped through with my fingertips is a thought I can remember always having. I am not sure when it began, but I know as a little girl I would take all of our family photographs and hold them hostage in my bedroom. At a young age, I just did not want to lose them.
Can I share something really personal with you? Roughly five years ago, in the season of grief when we lost my brother, we also “lost” four photo albums. This included my baby album, my brother’s baby album, a family album and my parents’ Wedding album. Now loosing these photographs did not compare to the magnitude of what we really lost that year, but the timing was downright awful. We turn to photographs in moments like that and besides the box of photographs that I kept within arm’s reach all of those years as a child, the others were nowhere to be found. I did not remember the last time that I looked at my parents’ wedding album, and so I could not remember much of the details of their photographs.
In the five years that passed we unpacked and repacked our attic five times for Christmas and never once came across any of these albums. This year was the first year I was not home to decorate the house with my parents. Cory and I had our own home to decorate and get our first Christmas tree together the same weekend. I was understandably nervous to not be there with my parents because I know that this time of year can be hard for them sometimes. I do not know if it was a coincidence that we “lost” these photography albums at the same time we lost my brother. What I do know though is this; as my parents unpacked the attic one evening together, they found not one but all four of these photography albums. I received a message from my Mom that evening, “I found our Wedding album, and other ones too. I thought to myself, asking Richard to let me find them today.”
Maybe in some way we needed a time away from these photographs, maybe it would have been to hard for my parents to have them for a period of time. I find it fascinating that when my Mom was ready, she asked and within the same day it happened. We could have misplaced them ourselves, but not until one of us pleaded for help to find them did we. Things like this make me believe he is still watching over them and that my Mom got the photography albums back when she was suppose too.
Today, I went over to my parents’ home and looked through everyone of the albums. I gave my Mom a hard time for not filling all of my baby book out, Richard’s was filled from cover to cover and mine was maybe six pages! (She did have her hands full when I came around, so I will let it slide!) I saw photographs that I had never seen before. I previously wrote about how it was hard for me as a wedding photographer to know that I would never have a new photograph of Richard, but today I did. So in another way this was a gift to me too.
The photograph above is from my parents’ Wedding Day Album. It is of my Mom and my Grandma and it stuck out to me so much! I fell in love with this portrait instantly that I wanted to share it with the world! It is a moment that the photographer decided to freeze for us all to enjoy forever. Before I was even a thought, a photographer came along on my parents’ Wedding Day and gave me moments like this to always cherish. I hope this is a reminder for everyone to take photographs, take TOO MANY photographs! After that, print them, save them on external hard drives and on your computer so you have them in more than one place. Showcase your photographs in a tangible form whether that’s on the walls of your home, in photography albums, on your Instagram. Capture memories in time so that the little girl, that saves them all in a shoebox because she wants to keep them close, has photographs that teach her the importance of photography.