Monday, December 31, 2012

What's a Picture Really Worth?

You've heard that "a picture speaks a thousand words"?  I may take that a bit literal.  It's no secret to anyone who has known me but a few minutes that I love my camera.  I often get made fun of because I am always snapping pictures of nearly every aspect of our life.  I torture my family by getting family pictures done at least once a year.  I'm quite intense about it.  I have taken thousands upon thousands of pictures this year.  I would say the majority of them are pretty crappy.  I bought myself a new camera but I won't lie, I don't really know how to use it properly...but I'm learning.

So the question I get asked all the time is why...why do you take so many pictures?  Last night as I was trying to find a picture to show a friend of ours, I went through a few albums and came across one from Kevin's deployment to Iraq in 2005/2006.  I came across this picture:

Suddenly I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I was irritated a few days ago when someone made a snarky comment about not recognizing me without my camera at the boys wrestling practice.  While I paused and pondered over this image I realized why.

I have known for a long time why I am so attached to my camera and it has to do with that man in the picture, Bryant.  Bryant was killed a few weeks after that picture was taken by my husband.  I had sent a camera with Kevin and insisted that he take pictures.  I know he didn't like taking pictures but he loves me and was willing to do it for me.  Most of the Soldiers were happy to pose. The majority of the families left behind were grateful when I had a picture to share.

On 28 April 2006, I received a phone call from a casualty notification officer telling me that LaNita was requesting my presence.  As much as I wanted to believe it wasn't the worst, I knew deep in my heart that it was.  As I spent the afternoon with her and the many days, weeks and months with her following that phone call, I felt blessed that she shared with me glimpses of her life with Bryant.  We spent hours poring over photo albums and we cried, we laughed and she even got mad when she saw a picture of him with a big wad of chew in his mouth.  She told me time and time again how grateful she was for those pictures.  Since then, every picture has become a treasure.

I realized that it had been a long time since had a family picture done.  I had very few pictures of Kevin and I together.  I had few pictures that I was even in.  I made a decision right then that I would change that.  Just a few weeks later Kevin came home and we had one of the most emotionally charged photo shoots ever.  Those pictures will always be some of my favorites because not only were they great, they were part of our healing process and part of our promise to move towards the future.

Since then I have made it my goal to try and capture moments.  I may take hundreds of pictures at a single event and most may come out bad but there is usually one that makes me smile or cry or just remember and I feel blessed by that.  I have no desire to be a professional photographer (way too much pressure) but I will always love snapping photos.  I want to always be able to be able to connect a tangible reminder to a wonderful moment in my life and the lives of those I care about.  With Kevin being gone this year I want to keep him as connected as possible and pictures and technology are a wonderful way to do that.

So when people ask me why I take so many pictures, my answer will be...because a picture is worth a thousand words and a tangible connection to precious and priceless moments in our lives.


Jen said...

I am a pictureaholic! I will always have my camera with it. Pictures are memories.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE this entry. You don't know how many times over the years I've taken crap for being "the paparazzi" at family events, weddings, etc. I don't regret being a camera freak at all 'cause you capture moments other people wish they had.