Photographs are Powerful!
Photographs freeze a moment in time. They open a portal to a place and time that cannot be repeated. They reconnect us to loved ones and to memories. They take us back and show us places we want to go. They can move us to action, to laughter, to tears, or something in between.
I was looking through my stash of family photos recently, looking for a photo of my Grandma, when I found this photo. It stopped my world for a minute. It made me smile the rest of the night. What a find!
It’s a polaroid photo from 1982, hence the big hair and even bigger glasses! I’m holding my first ever camera, the Vivitar 805 Tele! It was a “point and shoot” camera, super swanky because it had a slide on the top that changed the focal length from 24mm to 48mm. There was a big red button to activate the shutter. I can still remember the feel of the button and sound of the click.
When the film cartridge was full, I was off to the local K-Mart. I would fill out an envelope with all my information, seal the cartridge inside, and then drop it in the slot on the counter, then return home and wait. And, wait. And wait. Several days later when the photos finally came back, I’d walk back to the K-mart and flip through the photo envelopes on the counter till I found mine. Often, I’d rip open the envelope, right there, to finally get to see what I’d captured.
The camera was a gift from my Daddy. As an adult I called him “Dad” but I think of him in my heart as “Daddy”. I can’t recall now, if it was for my birthday or Christmas that year. That happens when you have a December birthday and it’s been a decade or three between then and now. But, what I can clearly recall, and what I think this photo shows, is the joy that camera gave me. I had not asked for a camera, no idea I would like one, but somehow Dad knew. I took all kinds of photos that year, fascinated that I could zoom up closer with that magical slide. I spent hours looking at the finished photos and arranging them in a scrapbook.
Looking back, I can clearly see that year was a tough year. It can be hard to be a teenager in the best of times, but my parents had just divorced, and we had moved, and I was trying to adjust and make sense of it all. I think that makes the joy in the photo all the more telling.
Thirty-three years after this moment was captured, my husband wrapped up a fancy camera and placed it under our Christmas tree. I had not asked for a camera, but somehow, he knew. I was as thrilled with that 2015 gift as I was with that 1982 gift. A happy, but long forgotten pastime from my teenage years grew into a full-blown hobby in in my 40’s. An “enthusiast photographer” was born.
Unbeknownst to me, my husband took this second photo at the Black Canyon this year. I was setting up during the last bit of sunlight for some night sky shots, practicing my Superpower, trying to freeze time for just a moment. I’m not one to have my own photo taken, but it touched me deeply that he captured this memory of me doing something I love.
The camera I have today is swanky, too, just like that first one in 1982 and the second in 2015, though it’s light years different from both. Yet, the joy I feel when I hold my camera today is the very same joy I experienced when I first held that Vivitar so long ago.
What a blessing that two important men in my life- my Dad and my Husband- both recognized what a camera would mean to me when I didn’t see it myself. Each bought me a camera. Each encouraged me to pursue something that makes me, me.
Both of them.