Having been away from home for more than two decades, I am doing all that I can to fit in and be assimilated in the systems. To take the stress out of this daunting task,I have chosen to take one day at a time.
Last week, my elderly mother gave me a heavy traveller’s bag to sort through at leisure. She never told me what its contents were and I had no idea what could be in it.
Three days later , I sat in the bedroom and rummaged through this bag. Nothing had prepared me for what I was seeing: sealed plastic bags containing several yellow Kodak photograph envelopes mixed with similar green Fujifilm ones filled with a lot of old photographs. I settled down happily and started going through them. Myself as a mother holding my first child in my arms while mother looked on with delight, a similar pose with both my second and third children. Their first smiles, first push-ups, their first steps, their baptisms and their first day at the nursery school. Each one of them blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes surrounded by their friends.
There were many other photographs of family and friends taken during the 80’s and early 90’s and those taken during my travels abroad. As I leafed through them, memories of those special people and moments came flooding in. The photographs were too beautiful and too clear to make me feel alive. They reminded me of the passage of time: each person had added on twenty years to her/his life and some had even passed on. Some of the children in those pictures had got married and now have children of their own. It was a treasure trove of memories that no one could take away from me not even time itself. Lost in this happy remembrance, my heart was filled with joy.
What I loved most about those photographs is that I had taken almost all of them with my simple Kodak camera. A lot has changed since then : the Kodak company founded in 1888 in USA was declared bankrupt in 2012 and has been struggling to re-invent itself and Fujifilm (1934) had to rebrand itself by using its core photographic technology to go into medical and imaging products.
This all happened after technology changed the photography Industry. Yes, Kodak invented the Digital camera and I still have my Kodak EasyShare V 1003 somewhere in the house.I used it to take graduation photographs for the same group I had photographed at birth and as they grew and advanced.
Fast forward today. Digital photography has become the order of the day: all Smart phones have Digital cameras within them. Anyone with a Smart phone be it a child , can take photographs,share them instantly, print them or store them in files on the Personal Computer. It has never been as easy as it is today to create memories of happy occasions and store them.
Yahoo’s Flickr and Google’s Picasa services can be used to store and create albums which you can share with friends. I think I will have to turn my treasure trove of photographs into an online storage form.
I had to thank my mother for having kept my photographs incredibly well . I learned from her that she had kept them wrapped up in that bag and kept it high in the ceiling for all these years! At first I was shocked but then I reminded myself that our country had gone through enough years of civil strife to demand people like my mother, to come out with ways of preserving their valuables.
I continue to be mystified by a picture that is well taken. Such a picture can speak lots of words, add flavour and richness to our lives.
I am encouraging all of you to keep taking good photographs and sharing them with family and friends.Organise them to build a lifetime collection. A few years from now , you will be proud and happy to live the treasured memories.
The English idiom that says: “A picture is worth a thousand words,” remains as relevant today as it did before technology changed the photography industry.