I posted this photograph at the risk of my siblings never speaking to me again. I was looking for something totally unrelated and found a few of these taken at Perry’s Nut House in Belfast Maine in 1966.
Apparently this was the beginning of my photography career. The camera around my and my sister’s neck were acquired with Kellogg’s box tops I seem to recall. I used that camera a few times and still have it with my initials emblazoned on the front of it with a permanent marker. I’m not sure the photographs I had taken with that camera are even around anymore.
We all went through those incredibly awkward stages. Your mother took your picture standing in front of ridiculous things, dressed in ridiculous clothes. We pull them out every so often and think to ourselves “What were they thinking?” or “Who the heck was dressing me?” or “Were those really the only glasses available in the mid sixties?” What I am finding out, more so as I get older, is the importance of some of these images to other family members regardless of how annoying they are to me.
Distant family members set up a memory page for a branch of my father’s side of the family a couple of days ago and many photographs have been shared. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing pictures of my grandfather that I have never seen before. He’s been gone since 1976 and it feels like this tiny little miracle getting just another, new glimpse of him. We all have the same photos we look at over and over – more so after someone dies. It’s a finite number, you memorize them, inventory them in your head. When someone shares a photograph at first it is so unexpected, then it’s an image you take into your heart. It’s a pretty wonderful thing.
With the photos of me and my sister and brother I laugh at them initially, then I see our children and grandchildren in those faces. There’s the miracle, right there. We are blessed with the technology that now allows us to record with abandon but it’s only a recent phenomenon. My generation and all those before us have a limited number of photographs and I think, no matter how embarrassed you might be, it’s important to share them with your family. You never know what they are going to get out of it.
Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Really Brian, nice socks!”