Old Photographs

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This is my new favorite photo of me.  I know it sounds vain.  This is not an epic or iconic photograph.  It is not grandiose, artistic, obscure, avant-garde, or even a great action shot.  It is not a passable head shot. However, it perfectly defines who I am.
My daughter took this of me several years ago; I think she was five.  I recently found it buried on the tablet with a bunch of other photos that looked like they were taken by a five year old (probably my handiwork).  I have changed all of my icons, avatars, etc. to this image.
During holidays when I was a kid, my parents and all my aunts and uncles sat around the table sorting through old photographs.  They were a different size and sort of square.  They were gold, reminders of times that were otherwise forgotten.
Growing up in the 80’s, we all had giant stacks of photos that moms would sort and shuffle out like a Vegas black jack dealer.  We peel these old photographs from  between pages of sticky cellophane albums to remember fall leaf piles, Saturday tee ball games, and all kinds of bad holiday sweaters.
We invested in cameras, selected the perfect composition, took the film to a photo center, and stored all of these old photographs in giant stacks under the coffee table.  This was an investment. Therefore, the act of taking a photograph was a deliberate event.  The only frivolous photos happened when a camera was left unattended in a college dorm room.   Pictures of beer cans, highlighters, and institutional desk chairs transitioned to a scavenger hunt to take the most inapproproate picture (always my butt).
Despite the role these old photographs played throughout our remembered history, we have given them up for a cheap and tawdry alternative.  It’s so quick and easy that we take pictures of everything.  We take multiple pictures of everything.  We take many, many pictures of everything. We have increasingly larger hard drives full of blurry events that we never remember. The volume is too great.
We no longer have living room pizza parties that end with grape soda dripping off the coffee table onto stacks of cherished memories. We now spend holidays trying to get our cloud to connect  to our mother in laws Wi-Fi so we can share the memories of last year.
Back to my new favorite old photograph, it’s my living room.  That plant is dead and we moved the couch to the other side of the room.  I still don’t play the banjo very well but I remember the day my daughter took this picture.  It was a good day.
 
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