Photos Matter. Stories Matter. Celebrate Yours
Updated: Aug 14, 2018
How we honor those we love is inextricably tied with our photos. A few years ago my Aunt passed away. The family gathered, told stories, looked at photos, laughed, and cried. My cousin succinctly captured this time in a Facebook post: “How do you begin to capture a life and tell the story of someone you love? It is through stories, memories, pictures, and reflections…Since my mom passed, I am growing even closer to those I love that knew (and loved) my mom.” This described exactly how I felt as we went through old photos and put together a slide show and the story of her life.
Photos trigger memories of stories forgotten in the busyness of daily life. Sharing these stories – both good and bad – and the emotions that accompany them gave me the gift of remembering my aunt, and getting to know my cousins as the fine adults they have become.
It also got me thinking about how we celebrate the lives of those we love. We gather at Celebrations of Life to share those stories, memories, and photos – often in videos or slide shows set to music. What struck me is that we wait until our loved one is gone to tell their story, and share how important they were to us, and the mark they left on the world. When we accumulate photos in shoe boxes, dusty old slide carousels, old format film, and thousands of jpegs, we lose the opportunity to celebrate the stories – good and bad, that tell our loved ones how we feel about them. Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate our loved ones through stories and photos while they are still with us?
Saving our photos is about more than just having 3 back-ups of all our photos stored in safe places. It is about finding ways to look at our photos, tell the stories behind the photos, and celebrate the lives depicted in those photos every day. Enjoying our photos has become both easier and harder in the digital age. We have many ways to share our photos now but take so many that we are too overwhelmed to see them. Take advantage of technology and make a quick album or slide show of your best or favorite pictures that tell a story. Make a canvas, metal print or wall print of a photo or collage of a few photos of your grandparents. Or a day with the family that has special meaning. Sit down with a loved one and make that slide show that tells the story of his or her life. Let them tell the stories and hear what they mean to those who love them.
Don’t just save your photos – use them to celebrate and honor your loved ones. Somehow, with that purpose in mind, the effort involved seems less overwhelming and much more rewarding.
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We also invite you to visit our sister blog The Photo Organizers for more tips and in-depth knowledge from some of the top photo organizing industry professionals. To find a photo organizer near you, visit the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.
Kathy Stone is a Certified Personal Photo Organizer, and member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. She founded Calgary Photo Solutions to help people preserve their photos and stories by providing a range of photo organizing services. Kathy has been helping people organize and enjoy their printed and digital photos for over 17 years. Kathy’s background includes more than 20 years’ experience in training and development. She is a Certified Adult Educator, and has presented at the Association of Personal Photo Organizers Conferences in 2014 and 2016. Kathy has provided training on photo organizing and digital and print album making to numerous groups and individuals, and spoken to individuals and organizations about the importance of photo preservation.