Friday, 30 December 2016

It's only stuff....

In my last post I spoke about how having too many photos (or anything else come to that) can be overwhelming and stressful instead of giving joy. But progress is being made as I organise my photos and wrangle with what to keep and what to delete. And while doing this I remembered an article written by Mark Slade. He was 
badly affected by the floods at Hebden Bridge earlier this year and many homes and personal possessions were destroyed. For many, caught unawares by that unexpected torrent, there was no time to gather belongings. And many photos were lost. Those timeless sepia, and black and white photos, handed down through the family, with memories of family past. And photos downloaded onto computers that were not backed up onto the Cloud.

In a disaster there are bigger things to worry about than photos. Along with other tangible things, well, it's only stuff. But is it?  Mark Slade wrote:

"While every image captured is in me and part of me, without the photo, the faces and colours, places and people trapped on the paper, they will slip away like smoke".

I know what he means.  Photos, for me, provide a link between the past and present.  And while I don't want to spend my life looking backwards, these photos are part of me, and who I am. And so I was touched by what Mark asked: that friends and neighbours of those affected by the flood look in their photo collections for copies that they could share. The weddings, christenings, work does, clubs and sport days. A small but priceless gesture. 

This Christmas I made my Mum a photobook. The kind you create online and have printed into a book.  I put in some of the black and white photos, handed down through the generations. And as my Mum sometimes tells me that she doesn't have many photos of her great grand daughters I added these too. The book bought a tear or two to her eye, and I know she will spend many hours turning the pages and smiling at remembered memories.

I hope those families who lost photos have managed to gather some back. Pouring through my albums makes me appreciate that perhaps abundance is not such a bad thing after all. Especially if the photos are organised.


  1. Lovely post Sandie, and so poignant! The floods must be a horrible experience, and yes all the little personal things must seem insignificant! Until that is the flood becomes a memory, the true loss becomes apparent. Those little things you know you had but can no longer find. So glad they celebrated Christmas in the summer!

    Hebden Bridge is a special place for us and so when I heard one the artists from there whom I have met was organising a fund to help out., I just had to donate one of mine, very shyly. The local pub allowed painting to be displayed which had been donated by artists everywhere to raise funds to help those most effective.

    Hugs Debs x

  2. Lovely thoughts in this post - I have read that people always answer that the first thing they would save if the house was on fire is their photo albums. So many families in Fort McMurray (Alberta Canada) this year were faced with that very decision this year with the rampant out of control forest fires. Photos allow us to relive those special moments & people again & again.

  3. I know that I am guilty of holding onto 'stuff' that I really don't need! It's a hard habit to break, but I am trying to simplify things and in doing so, trying to be a little more minimalistic. Happy new year to you!

  4. What a moving post this is. For me, losing photos would be a lot harder than losing any of the other things I own. And yet I know I don't need photos to remember: I have virtually no pictures of my teenage years at all and even without, those are the years I remember so vividly. I love the idea of a photo book for an elderly relative. It's so much easier than having to ask someone to get out all the photo albums.


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