Keeping your Family History Alive
Let’s face it everyone, time passes (or as a friend once said, ‘we pass, time doesn’t’). When I look through images taken even just a year ago, I can measure the changes on many of the young, and not so young, faces that look back at me. Or I look at some of the derelict homes and places that I have captured and am left wondering about who lived in these places, what their lives were like and simply, who were they? So keeping your family history alive has never been more important.
I’m not in favour of building up boxes or hard drives full of family snaps. I’m suggesting that all of us should periodically get a professional photographer to capture a particular time or a particular event in our lives that will become cherished. I know that my paternal grandparents probably didn’t have this in mind when they had their engagement photograph taken by a professional in New Jersey in 1927. But the beaming smiles and bright eyes of my long dead grandparents remain mesmerising. I reminds us that a chance encounter between a County Derry man and a County Mayo woman on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City all those years gave us our own lives.
In many ways, that picture remains as a piece of art as well as being an important family heirloom. No other similar pictures of the pair exist, only individual images of them in old age. So I would urge everyone not to see the camera simply as a tool for taking snaps, but as an opportunity to capture history – whether family or social history – that is worth handing on to our future generations, while being enjoyed by our own.
So next time you have an important family event, think about capturing that moment in a succinct and individual style.
Some time, far away in someone else’s future, it will be priceless.