I have very few regrets in life so far. One of them is that I was never big on capturing memories, either via photos or video. With age and a little bit of wisdom (arguable, I know) I’ve come to realise the importance of capturing memories.
Dr. Seuss used to say “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” I have memories of momentous points in my life that I am glad to have. For example, I remember the day I arrived in this country and some of the things I did on the day. I remember my first day of school in this country and how I met someone who has in time become one of my best friends. I also remember my last day at university just hanging with a few friends.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr. Seuss
However, I only give importance to these moments with the benefit of hindsight. I didn’t have the self-awareness at the time to realise and understand the gravity of the moment I was in. A few months ago, when I moved into a new place, I agreed with the family to put collages around the house. These collages include baby photos of ourselves, through adolescence and onto adulthood. While sifting through these pictures, I realised how lucky I am that my parents and other elders deemed necessary to capture these moments. I realised how lucky I am that there is a story attached to each one of those photographs that I am now exposed to through those that were behind the lens. Katie Thurmes says “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” We are time travelers with the ability to transport ourselves to a fixed point in time to relive memories and experiences that shaped us or to be storytellers to those that come after us.
“We are time travelers with the ability to transport ourselves to a fixed point in time to relive memories and experiences that shaped us or to be storytellers to those that come after us”
I have never been rich enough to afford high-quality cameras and lenses to accompany them. But that doesn’t matter anymore. Now we all carry cameras in our pockets that have the kind of quality that was restricted to high-end cameras less than a decade ago. So be sure to use them!
Capture the everyday mundane moments even if they seem insignificant; the simple beauty around you in the town or city you live, look up at the history in the form of architecture, or better yet look up even higher at the magnificent and dramatically ever-changing skies above us. Definitely capture the milestones; whether it’s your first holiday, your first girlfriend/boyfriend, your first child, your 18th, 21st, 30th or 50th birthday or other such milestones for the ones you love. But please don’t take photos of your food…no one cares what you had for lunch last year, let alone last week.
Someone once told me that photos capture the memories that the mind and heart sometimes forget; I understand the poignancy of that now more than ever. I’ve had a change of heart and started to capture moments, no matter how mundane, so I may have the opportunity to value those moments when they become significant memories. Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for an important life lesson.
What do you think? Do you relate to my sentiments about the importance of photos? Do you remember the stories your grandparents told you about some old photos you stumbled across? I’d love to hear them if you’d like to share.