When was the last time you printed out a photo? Before cellphones and digital cameras, I remember the disposable camera. Each camera contained film for 18-22 photos, so I had to snap wisely! I remember waiting patiently day after day for my pictures to develop. I couldn’t wait to open them up and look at each photo one by one. Most of the photos would be placed in albums, but a select few would make it onto my shelf of frames or around my dresser mirror. I have always loved surrounding myself with moments and memories.
Photo by Studio Eiler @studioeiler
I have photo albums from elementary, middle and high school, but then they stop in college. In college I started storing my photos on my new computer in folders where they sat and sat and sat. With the rise of social media, my photos became even less organized as I uploaded them individually onto my feed/timeline or placed them in a Facebook album.
The gift that changed everything
A few months ago I received a package from my aunt in the mail. I opened it to find a photo album full of photographs from what seemed like a past life. I flipped each clear sleeve to find pictures of my grandparents, my mom, my dad, my cousins, my brother and I, and close family.
Each photo was perfectly imperfect and contained so much personality and charm that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry; I ended up doing a lot of both. Some photos were blurry in places and others had random bursts of light creating a blown out or faded look. Many were candid and it was not rare for someone’s eyes to be closed. Sometimes not a single person in the photo was looking at the camera. Some were off-centered and others had so many people in them that my eyes lingered just a little longer on the photo in order to look at each and every person. I love every single photograph.
This photo album brought me back to the time in my life when I printed my memories. The time before quick scrolling and the cloud. I am totally aware that there are so many cool spaces in the digital world to organize and display photos. I am very grateful for technology and photo editing tools, especially what Chuck uses to create my blog photos. But a raw printed image brings on a different type of feeling for me, one that I wanted to recreate from those days of photo albums and picture-covered mirrors.
So over the summer I decided to go through my phone and my computer and print out a crazy number of photos.
Waiting to pick my giant BOX of photos up from Walgreens made me feel like a kid again. It had been SO long since I had printed out a picture. Upon returning home I immediately spread them out across my bed looking at each and every one, reliving memory after memory, picking them up and putting them back down, then picking them back up again.
I quickly decided that I would never again let that amount of time go by without printing out photos. Here is why:
1. Holding moments in my hand brings my joy
While the simple act of picking up a printed photo in our hands seems routine, I truly believe that it has an impact on how we engage with the image. This feeling is one that is so difficult for me to even describe. Somehow leafing through photographs makes these moments tangible and easier to access. Spreading out those glossy rectangles across my bed and studying each one closely helped recreate those moments in time. My eyes lingered on each image longer than they would if I were scrolling through a digital album or feed.
While the simple act of picking up a printed photo in our hands seems routine, I truly believe that it has an impact on how we engage with the image.
2. Capturing the candids is what it’s all about
The space we have on our devices for taking photos allows us even more opportunities to capture those charming candid photos. Each candid photo tells a story. Every closed eye, off-centered pose, awkward action shot, and silly smile is a real moment in time. After paging through the photo album from my aunt and laughing and smiling at so many of these candid shots, I was inspired to search through my photos and print out some of my own. These photos light up my world when I look at them; they illustrate the personalities that I know and love of my friends and family. They have even helped me hear the laughter and conversation from certain memories.
3. Surrounding myself with photos is the perfect vacation for my eyes
When I cover my home or workspace with photos, my eyes are taken on a brief getaway. I quickly relive a memory or I recall just how amazing it was to be in a certain place. Glancing at a photograph brings me a joy and comfort no matter what kind of day I might be having. Whether my eye catches a photo that I have set out in a frame, or I am flipping through a photo album —I am able to slip back to that memory for a few quick seconds.
4. Photos are my favorite gifts to give and receive
I LOVE receiving photos. I don’t care if they are framed, in a card, or simply handed to me (shoutout to my friend Michele for being SO amazing at ALL of these!!). When I receive a photo from a friend, I know that they printed out that specific moment for a reason. The memory in the image is one that will live on for both of us and never be forgotten.
5. Photographs can inspire the future
Whether you are creating a scrapbook, organizing your photos in a physical album, or wrapping them in frames — have fun with it! There are so many ways to display your photographs in the physical world. In a past post on making a vision board, I wrote about how creating a visual representation of past experiences as well as what you want in your life activates emotion. I believe this emotion is what ultimately leads to inspiration and motivation. Continuously seeing my photographs around me inspires me to create new experiences that will bring me the emotion I see in those images. They also encourage me to reach out and connect with the people who are surrounding me in those photos!
Photo by Studio Eiler @studioeiler
I still find it amazing that we can freeze these single moments in time and keep them forever. The smiles, the faces, the eyes, the poses — they all represent the fact that our lives are made up of these small moments that pass by so quickly. However we decide to organize and display our photos, I hope for these captured moments to remind us that every snapshot of our lives contains a story worth telling.
Wishing you zest & light,