When the memory no longer wants to be remembered

negatives1I’ve got a stack of boxes in my garage that belong to an associate of mine. He’s packed up and left to start a new life many, many miles away, leaving about two-dozen boxes of the life he left behind.

 I’ve been moving a few of the boxes around and noticed many of them are boxes full of photographs, negatives, slides and prints. Boxes full of memories.

 The owner of these memories is now many miles away, creating new memories and no doubt taking new pictures with his new family.

 I’ve spoken before about the joys of photographs. About the anticipation waiting for photos to be developed. The excitement of re-living special memories. Of the joy of sharing photos with others.

 These boxes tell me that, for one time at least, the owner of the photos was excited about the photos and the memories that they hold. The boxes contain hundreds of photographs, many miles of negatives and disks full of photographs. He was once excited about the subject of those photos – the family he left behind.

 What happens to the memories when they no longer want to be remembered? When the memory is too personal, too intense, too happy or too sad to be remembered. What happens when the memory reminds of what could have been, but wasn’t. What happens when the photos remind of things that you were doing, rather than what you should have been doing?

 You take photos to remember. You might be able to hide a photo, to lock them away in a box, to burn an image or destroy a negative. You might be able to do all those things, but the memory remains.

 You might be able to forget what it was you’re trying to remember, but here’s the catch.

Those photos are full of people. People that won’t forget.


Photo from http://www.warp2search.net/news/story/convert_35mm_film_negatives_instantly_into_digital_copies.html



  1. Jen

    Yes. But trust me … days or weeks or years later … people (whether its the owner or someone else) will want to gaze over those photos. I know from personal experience. Those photos — even if it takes years — will one day be a treasure to you or someone else. I write a lot about this. It’s something I’m particularly touched by.

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