The Beginning

Once upon a Christmas, Santa brought me my first camera, a Kodak Brownie Starmite. I’m not certain what it was about photography that captured my attention when I was so young, but it has been a lifelong passion. The challenge, from the beginning, was not to just snap pictures but to communicate an emotion – a feeling.

That camera was set aside for the teenage years of 110s – which was never satisfactory. My first 35mm, Pentax K1000, opened a whole new world to me. I was intent upon learning to master a manual camera. Before long I discovered Ansel Adams and I was fascinated by his work, especially his Zone System. I began to understand how to play with light to communicate the message I had in mind.

So this is the beginning – a love of photography. A fascination with the art and the science that goes into creating an image that evokes feeling. But how did this turn into

When I moved into digital photography (a bit reluctantly) I needed to learn Photoshop. I began working with vintage photographs as a way to learn how to manipulate images within Photoshop. Before long, people began to ask me to work on their vintage images and I fell in love with their stories. I realized that recovering their images recovered their stories.

At about the same time, we learned that my father-in-law suffered from dementia. It was progressing rapidly and as I watched him I realized that not only is photography both an art and a science, not only is restoring a vintage photograph both an art and a science but there is also an art and science involved with retrieving the memories stored in our brains.

In order to preserve memories and tell our life stories, I quickly realized that capturing moments through photography was not quite enough. Those images needed to be shared, displayed, bound into books, presented in some way so that they are accessible, retrievable. Providing photos for my father-in-law was almost like providing the memories he was losing.

Now my mother-in-law is in her final stage of dementia and the message is as poignant today as it was when I wrote my first post. Our memories are fragile. Our photographs capture the moments we don’t want to forget. Guard those memories. Share those memories. Tell your stories. There is an Art of Recollection.