Anyone that knows me well, knows that I have a terrible memory. I'm especially bad with names and faces. But, in general, I have a bad memory. Which is sad because my life has been full of awesome experiences and adventures. It's a shame to forget so many great things.
It was probably sometime in college when I realized just how bad my memory was. Hand in hand with that discovery I also began to appreciate all the photos that my family and I had taken of my early years because it helped trigger so many memories of wonderful childhood experiences that I otherwise would have forgotten.
Wanting to live life to the fullest, and wanting to enjoy and remember the many great experiences God put in my life, I made it a point to keep a camera handy and to try to document experiences along the way. Memorializing special moments in life is something I find to be very valuable and something I often recommend to others. There are lots of ways to do that. Some folks like to buy trinkets when they travel. Others like to scrap book. I like taking photos.
Sometime around when my wife and I got married, the ability to develop photo books through online publishers was just becoming a thing. At least, that's when I first learned about it. I think it's a great way to memorialize special moments and adventures. I've made it a point every year or two to pull together all of my favorite photos and put them into a photo album that I have printed professionally. It's been a great investment, and one I would highly recommend for everyone to do!
While I love to take photos and memorialize life's adventures, I should be clear that I have some strong preferences for how I do and do not like to go about it. Two in particular that I'll share with you.
(1) Draw them into the story BY NOT TELLING THE WHOLE STORY
I prefer a photo that does not tell the entire story. If it tells the entire story, you're not forced to think and remember. But if a photograph tells part of the story then you are drawn into the story because you are forced to really think to recall the experience. So I typically prefer to shoot a close up of a scene instead of a wide angle that shows the whole thing. Or I like to focus in on part of a scene so that the background, while visible, is not clearly portrayed. Here are a few examples of what I mean from a trip to Europe back in 2000 (shot on a Canon EOS Elan film camera). Each of these photos stirs up so many memories. I can almost feel the old cobblestone walkway in Milan and it reminds me of the old architecture and all the personality those streets had.
Seeing the chair from my room in Hamburg reminds me of all the fun sounds that filled the little condo shared by a professional guitarist who played and gave lessons through the day.
The texture in the roof and wall of Neuschwanstein with the towers and rooms blurred in the backdrop stirs up so many fun memories of exploring through the ancient castle.
(2) the way I remember it
I do NOT like being in my photos. When I look at a photo, I want it to remind me of what I saw. I didn't see me. My wife hates this because while we have a TON of photos of her and our kids, there are almost none of me.
Here's a classic example. We were at Smith Rock. I had a tri-pod and could have easily set it up and jumped into the picture. But this is what I remember. Seeing Kami and Gideon as they were hanging out by the fence overlooking the river and the beautiful rock formations. So this is what I wanted to capture. We even came back and did a big hike a few days later. I don't think there's a single photo of me from all of our time there.
That's all for today. But keep your eyes out for tomorrow's post where I talk about the importance of aspiration.