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It Happened to Me

You'll often hear me refer to "The Power of the Photograph".

It's a real thing and it's not to be underestimated. Photographs have the power to remind us of the best and worst days of our lives. They have to ability to evoke joy, pain, fear, regret, pride, amazement, and wonder. History and stories that are embedded in places far deeper than the paper they are printed on when our eyes fall upon the printed image.

As a professional photographer, I often see the reaction when someone sees a print for the the first time. Even if they have seen the digital image a dozen times, there's just something about seeing it...holding it - studying it. I say to myself, "The Power of the Photograph" and pat myself on the back.

This week, we lost a dear family member. Gina, my wife, lost her her uncle...her daddy's brother. In preparation for his funeral, we turned to our old photo albums, seeking any photos we might have for a slideshow. As Gina turned the pages, we came across a 5x7 snap shot. It must have been taken around Easter time at my parents house several years ago. It was my Dad, carrying our daughter Chelsea, who is 25 now. She was cracking a cascarone (confetti egg) over my head. We were all laughing.

Then it hit me. It hit me hard. You see, Dad passed away last year. Chelsea isn't a kid to be carried around anymore, in fact she's married now with her own children. I saw how much she looked like Mila, her littlest sister. This captured moment will never happen again. And I cried. I hid my face in my hands. I was sad. I felt the pain of losing my dad all over again. It was a powerful blast of emotion that passed rather quickly. Then I was grateful. I don't ever remember seeing this image that must have been taken over 20 years prior. What a great reminder. The Power of the Photograph.

Gina and I each found photographs of her Uncle Dal and sent them to the Lowndes Funeral Home, in Columbus, Mississippi. Days later we made the trip out to pay our final respects to a man known around town as "The Kang".

Entering the parlor, we watched the slideshow on the mounted flat screen. We watched photo after photo of his days as a child, as a teen, and as a soldier in the Army. We saw him with several family members that left this world before him, including his Mother and his brother Wayne, Gina's Daddy.

We saw him on fishing boats, hunting trips, cookouts, and festivals. Visitors laughed, cried, told stories, and maybe some tall-tales. The Power of the Photograph strikes again.

The cover photo spoke volumes. It was a simple capture, just him sitting chewing on a cigar. I watched for reaction each time it popped up on the screen. More than once, when that image came up I heard someone say, "Yep, that's him." The Power of the Photograph.....nailed it!

In closing, I want to pass on these words:

  1. Take pictures. Everywhere you go, of everyone you meet, in everything you do, of all stages of your life. It's your story. Tell it.

  2. Don't hide from the camera. When your slideshow plays, don't let it be 20 photos of you turning away or of your palm. Your loved ones will appreciate it later.

  3. Keep all the digitals you want. Keep them on hard drives, in the cloud, on your computer or your phone - but print your damn pictures. Hang them on your wall or put them on a shelf. Make an old school photo album and turn the pages once in awhile. Feel the power that you hold in your hands.

  4. Sometimes we get too busy to use our photos in the best way possible. Consider giving photos as gifts.

"It's been said that the pen is mightier than the sword and that a picture is worth a thousand words. Now consider the Power of the Photograph." ~ Me, 2023


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