I have always enjoyed pictures. As a youngster our Mom kept albums for us and I always enjoyed looking back through that album to somehow capture my youth. I have always wished that those pictures could talk, telling me some little nugget of history that my brain has since deleted over the years.
I am always amazed at people who can remember seemingly meaningless details from their childhood. I sometimes struggle to remember which of my four children I am talking to and say the incorrect name. Ironically, my Mom does the same thing to this day and I swore that I would never do that. But I must admit my poor son Will gets yelled at all the time, and it is really Tate that I am yelling at.
Pictures are so fascinating to me these days. I have become so enamored with old photos. I tend to study them for what seems like hours finding different details in them. My family has gotten used to me constantly taking pictures. Any family event or just a normal day they will catch me snapping photos of things. The invention of the smart phone has made picture taking all so easy. If you capture a bad shot, you just delete it. You can even modify the picture instantly and upload them to the cloud in an instant. I can still barely remember the days of film camera. One such memory included a plastic bag of undeveloped film at my Mom’s house. We finally decided to start getting them developed over time, and how much fun it was to look back at those pictures.
Life moves so fast these days that it is so easy to lose track of important events in our lives. Now, I have most of all of these events chronicled in my phone, on my flash drive, on computer hard drives or even in the cloud, which even though I love technology, that one still makes me scratch my head. The cloud? Over time, I have attempted to slowly print some of these photos so that I have a hard copy of them. As I go back through time looking at these photos I can’t help but smile, remembering what was happening in those moments, or even become sad as people in them are no longer with us.
Our youngest son Tate went through a stage a year or so ago where he wouldn’t allow us to take his picture. It did not matter for what reason we were taking it, he just didn’t want any part of it. A few months later Tate and I were sitting in a waiting room and passing the time by looking at some pictures. As we were scrolling through them he kept asking where he was in the photos?
I explained to him that he didn’t want in the picture, so I took it without him. I told him that one day he will be sad that he didn’t allow us to take his picture so that he could be present in the moment. Although he was only 4 at the time, Tate has now decided it is OK that we take his picture and, in fact, he poses most of the time now. I love pictures. I love memories. I love capturing moments of people and things in my life that matter.
As I was watching the Super Bowl this year a commercial stuck out to me. It wasn’t of the funny variety, but of a serious nature. It was a Google commercial and it was narrated by an older man who was telling Google to remind him of important things about his deceased wife and their time together. It completely embodies my infatuation with pictures and videos. They tell a story that one day will long escape our memories. They remind us of those most precious to us and important events in our lives.
While I love the quality of pictures that can be taken today, I am still amazed at the quality of still shots from yesteryear. I love the history that they encompass. I have started a project in my office of grabbing some old photos of towns here in Highland County. The Lynchburg Historical Society assisted me with some old photos in Lynchburg, and I have a few of Hillsboro as well. These pictures tell a story of a time that was so different than today. They track history of people and this great county that we call home. If you have some great old pictures of places here in town feel free to share them with me.
Old photos do many things for me. They make me laugh, they make me sad, they bring back great moments, and some remind me of moments that are not so happy. But each of these photos do something else. They have captured a moment in time. A brief snapshot of life as it was — life in motion. Live in the moment today and don’t be afraid to get your picture taken as someone, one day, will cherish that moment more than you will ever know.
If only pictures could talk…
Chad McConnaughey is the Highland County recorder.