A few weeks ago, my dad went to Texas to visit his mother and I put him on a mission:
GET OLD PHOTOS
The mission was selfish on my part. I had some gallery frames to fill (more on this later) and I wanted a mixture of old and new photos for them. I wanted photos with meaning that I could tell Claire about. I want her to know where she came from.
My Papa (dad's dad) was always telling me: "Work on our family genealogy. I want to know where I came from before I die." I've always regretted not doing that, but more than knowing the names, dates, places of my ancestors, I want to know their stories. The funny anecdotes and interesting tales. I want Claire to know their stories. And, since she'll likely not meet many of my grandparents or any of my great-grandparents, I want her to have photos to remember the stories.
Hence, my dad was on my selfish mission, which he succeeded in.
One day, we'll sit together and he can tell me about each photo in the plastic Wal-Mart bag he brought back, but before he could do that, I had wrangled through and begun my scanning-editing-printing process.
My great-grandfather owned a sawmill & lumber-yard in Mississippi. I'm assuming these are logs they received in and can't wait to hear the full story from my grandmother.
My grandmother is in the middle. The thing I'll always remember is that she was always considered large. That's how she described herself and how others always described her. My how standards have changed!
And who's that cute girl painting a fence?
My dad to the far right with his two brothers. He hasn't changed a bit.
My great-grandfather started a lumber-yard in south-Texas after the one in Mississippi burned. Later, my grandfather returned from WW2 to run the business, to which he added a home center that sold appliances. He was a smart man and hard worker with no more than a middle-school education, and was able to build a thriving business in a small town.
Many of the photos my dad brought back did not picture him as a child (he was the 3rd of 3 boys), so I asked him why he chose to bring back the photos he did. He said it was what was in the background of many of the photos. He remembered the house in the background, or the toys around the Christmas tree, or the couch he sat in. Those memories are all near to his heart.
Just a reminder to myself that it's not necessarily the exposure, or the focus, or the rule-of-thirds that will make a photo treasurable in the years to come.