Are they though?
Haven't we as humans always loved to share images of our lives. Even the oldest cave art was made by people who wanted to share their experiences in that moment, with those who came after.
Okay, we are not painting walls with colour pigments here, but our photos should be as important to us, as those cave paintings were to the people creating them thousands of years ago.
Photos capture moments, memories, and emotions that we can look back on and cherish for years to come. Whether it's a family holiday, a wedding or a simple everyday moment, photos have the power to transport us back to that very second, so we can instantly relive it.
I don’t think we really appreciate the importance of photos until it is too late. When something like losing your phone or a laptop dying with all your family photos on happens, it can be truly awful. This is often then the point at which we start saving them in multiple locations (so they don't get lost again) or start to create photo books and print images out, so we have a tangible record of those important memories. Why do we wait for them to be lost before we value them?
Yes, everyone has a camera in their pocket nowadays and perhaps that is why photos seem to have a throw away nature to them. How many of your photos just vanish into the cloud, never to be looked at and adored again? Do we need to start making photos a real occasion again, so that they become the artwork that hangs in our homes?
Here are a few reasons why photos are so important:
Capturing memories: Photos are a way to capture and preserve memories that may otherwise be forgotten over time. They allow us to remember and relive important moments, such as a child's first steps, a graduation, or a family reunion. Perhaps, more poignantly, the tiny details like the kid’s tiny hands, that cuddly toy that would go everywhere, that hat that Dad would always wear or that beach that we used to go to when we lived in our old house. They are all life defining moments that slip from memory so easily.
Sharing experiences: Family and friends can be spread around the world. Photos are a great way to keep in touch, share our experiences and memories with those who may not have been there. It’s a true human trait to want to share our stories, and photos are a wonderful way to be able to tell our stories and keep them alive.
Celebrating milestones: Marking these special moments and milestones in our lives gives us a chance to reflect on just how far we have come. Of course, everyone's milestones are different and each is worthy of celebration. Photos capture these moments perfectly and become daily reminders of special, important and much loved moments in our lives.
Creating a legacy: Photos can be passed down from generation to generation, creating a legacy that can be treasured and enjoyed for years to come. They allow us to connect with our past and our family history, and can help us feel a sense of continuity and belonging. This is one of the reasons that I like to try and be present in photos, rather than the photographer all the time. For my family to see me in years to come and have those memories brought back to life is so incredibly important.
Photos can be can be so much more than a throw away moment. They are a way to capture the beauty and complexity of life, and to preserve our most precious memories for generations to come.
So make it an occasion.
Take the picture.
And most importantly, be in the picture.
Give yourself a chance to enjoy your favourite moments over and over again.