I don’t have a memory where my mom wasn’t taking a picture. Her purse was always full of film rolls waiting to be developed or used. We frequented the film lab at Walmart so often they knew us by name.
She was always toting a camera over her shoulder and it fascinated me, I would gladly pose for her anytime she asked and got such a thrill seeing the photos weeks later. In the days long before the internet getting our film back after a trip or vacation was the only way we had to share our adventure with someone.
My mom took this trip to Japan with her sister and for 2 weeks they travelled the entire country bathing in Onsens, hiking up mountains and visiting temples. The stories she told enamored me and I was on the edge of my seat looking through the photos. Every one detailed some beautiful culture, country and experience I had never had before but hardly any of them captured her.
I was 21 years old when my mom passed away and this is the last photo I have with her. It was taken when I was 16, five years before she died and it breaks my heart. For the first few years after she passed away I scourged through old albums finding any photos I could of her and trying to hold tight to our memories.
I never imagined the impact those images would have on my life, how those images would form my memories. You never think that your memories will fade after you lose someone, you can’t imagine forgetting a time where they existed and yet some how they do. Time takes up space and life moves forward full of new adventures, milestones and moments.
All of those photos, every moment she ever captured, every picture of her stored like a treasure help keep my memories alive. Photos have a way of reviving the past. They have a way of traveling across time all together and freezing life’s most incredible moments for us to relive again and again. Photos tell a story, they remind us of where we’ve come from and who we’ve been there with. Pictures mold our memories and allow us to hold on to the people and times we love the most.
Photography enables our memories to last and every time my camera clicks I know I’m capturing a moment in someone’s story that they will want to always be told.