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.