Not long before my paternal grandmother passed away, I spent a few weeks with her sorting through her photographs. Her eyesight was failing badly but she could still recognise her loved ones in the photographs. She reminisced and told stories while I put all her cherished photographs into albums, and wrote out the labels with names, places and dates.
Some of the images dated as far back as the 1920s, when my grandmother was a young woman. They were most likely taken with a Box Brownie or similar. Cameras were not cheap, nor was printing, so every click of the shutter had to be considered. The resulting photographs were treasured, carefully labelled, framed, hung on walls, moved from home to home… loved.
Fast forward 100 years and a digital revolution and photographs are expendable. Images of pouting faces with bunny ears are splashed all over our social media, only to be deleted or lost forever into cyberspace. How many of these images will still be around in another 100 years? Who will love and cherish these 21st Century ‘portraits’?
Beautiful photographs require thought, care and time. They deserve to become art works, heirlooms for future generations, objects that will be looked at daily and continue to give pleasure for many decades to come.
That is why I do this. That is why photography is worth the investment.