Reflecting - A surreal start to the year

February 28, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

The wedding of my cousin, 12/9/92, with the family

The start to this year was a sad one, as we said goodbye to my uncle.......just seven weeks later we found ourselves saying goodbye to my aunt. Losing anyone that is part of your family is always hard, but to lose two people so close together is utterly surreal, and almost unbearable to those who are closest to them.

My dad (right), with his brothers, Derek & Brian, and their parents, late 30s at a guess, just before the start of WWII

You may wonder why I am starting with this on this blog.....since December, when my uncle passed away, my cousins messaged us all via messenger to tell us the sad news that they had lost their much-loved dad. What then followed via messenger was a sharing of old photographs, in the form of prints, digitally scanned for sharing via messenger. This got me thinking about the importance of photography in everyone's life....

Dad's wedding, 27/7/68, with Derek and Brian

Photography creates moments in time, memories of yesteryear. In years gone by, it would be a film camera, that would then be developed, and prints created, that would be around for the rest of time. The negatives remain the backup of those images, and if stored correctly, would able to be used time and time again to recreate prints at any size.

Today, we find ourselves creating memories in digital format, the majority of images are created from the trusty phone camera. I myself have 28,000 images on my phone, stored via iCloud, as the phone would never cope memory-wise in storing them physically. I'm sure if I went through them meticulously I could delete a great many, but I am loathed to as each one is a memory of that moment, that for some reason meant something to me. On the odd occasion that I scroll back through the files, I see an image that invokes a memory, either good or perhaps not so good, but memories nonetheless. The only issue with digital photography is that the files can become corrupt, and we then lose the image forever. As a suggestion, creating printed albums can preserve the memories as a hard copy that can be enjoyed with a glass of wine. My friend Michael, reviews the images over the last year and creates just such an album of memories. He has quite a collection to look back on.... also ensuring there are multiple backups, to prevent the loss of photos is highly advised, as devices can be so easily lost.

My aunts' wedding, 1963

Anyone born post-2000 will predominantly be using digital media, with digital photography. When we cleared out my parent's house, we found hundreds of photographs, of times, gone by, of our childhood. When we looked through them, my brothers and I certainly smiled as we all remembered them well. The photographs my cousins shared with us were from as early as the late '30s, and the prints were still very clear. There is something very special (for me) about holding an old photo and just studying it, wondering about the time that it was taken, how life was back then, compared to what life is like today.

My brother Dominics' christening, with my cousins and Gran, 1973

Life is very busy for all of us, for whatever reason, and time seems to be flying by at a great rate of knots. Everyone should be free in taking photos all of the time, to capture those memories, as we never know when there will be 'that last picture of them'. I had suggested to my cousins that I take a photo of them with their mum, at the funeral of their dad, it didn't happen for one reason or the other, little did we know on that day, that my aunt would no longer be with us at the beginning of February.

As you can see, I have shared quite a variety of age-old images in this blog. I believe that photography is essential in peoples' lives, if only to capture memories, that can be reflected upon. After all, once we are no longer here, they are the only thing that will bear witness to the story of our individual life.

Sister-in-laws having a great time, sometime in the '90s

There is always something worth capturing, as seen in the image above, a great time being had by all I would imagine and a great catch-up for the family members in question. So to conclude, don't be shy of clicking away, capturing moments, as we never know when it will be the last photo of someone close to us, and whilst time doesn't take the pain away, it does, along with photographs help us to cope with the loss.

Clevedon Pier, 23/2/2021

I took this image of Clevedon pier after the funeral of my aunt on the 23rd February '21, which would have also been the 80th birthday of mum. The day was very windy, but refreshing, and I was the best-dressed photographer on the beach, still being in my suit. A memory created to remember, a sad time, but one of a celebration of life.


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