We’ve all seen the amazing examples, family photos taken in the same spot, with the same clothes and poses, a decade spanning the two. We wish we had one of those, but hey, we’re working on it. Year by year we’re taking the time and energy (and appropriate bribing methods) to sit down on the front porch of the beach house and snap a family photo or five.
We don’t bother checking to see who sat where or looked in which direction, however, we’re hoping to amass a large group of photos that depict our growing flock and shifting group of friends who stop by. Sometimes we take a photo during Russian Christmas wearing masks and holding our dogs and other times we scrounge up all the elephant pants we own. Sometimes I accidentally wear a tank top that says fuck on it. It all depends on the month and the amount of caffeine running through our bloodstream.
One thing we like to keep constant is the setting. We always use the front porch steps. We were tempted to stand in front of a particular tree or a singular space in the yard, but Katie and I just love those steps. As an aside, it’s with a hearty dose of nostalgia that we realized this is where many photos were taken at our grandmother’s home too. Unknowingly Katie and I both snapped some images in that spot before we left her house for the last time.
Back to the beach house, in more recent years, you can see the paint wearing away more and more and to me, that adds beauty and context to the photos. A changing family, in front of a changing home, it all signifies the passing of time without needing a caption attached. In a year or two, those steps will be demolished as we plan on re-doing the porch. On one hand, I feel a bit bummed, but on the other, I know it will add even more information to our photos and in a decade we’ll be searching for the shots when we first bought the house and saying things like, ‘remember the old porch steps?!’
There are zero cells in my being that urge the passage of time these days, especially now that I’m a tia (aunt), but I must admit, sitting down at the beach this year and sifting through old photo albums we saved from our grandma’s house was powerful. Recollecting through moments frozen in time. Holding an image and puzzling over who it could be, passing it around and hearing each person add their own guess as to, ‘Which wedding was this?’ ‘Whose house was this at?’ ‘Oh, it must have been your cousin’s graduation!’ and so on.
There’s nothing like it, this back and forth about memories that have faded. Digging up people who have moved or passed or sat dormant in our cerebral cortex for so long. The retelling of time in a way that can be repeated again, only probably slightly falsified in the future, but even still, introduced to a younger generation. I’m afraid if we all don’t start thinking about the longevity of our photos, there will be none to pass around in the future. But as we sit on the porch steps and shove gummy worms or mentos or some other treat into the sweaty palms of squirming toddlers, I know we’re working on it. We’re building a visual record for ourselves and our babies so that one day when they look through my faded photo albums they can say, ‘that was tia, she was the best fucking aunt that ever lived!’ or something like that 😉
A few ways we preserve family photos :
- Print out a few and pass them around! Katie is so good about printing out photos of her boys and mailing them with holiday cards. Katie uses Shutterfly to create Christmas cards and also to print the 4x6s to include in other holiday cards. I like Adorama Pix for printing photos.
- Every single year, Katie creates a book on blurb with family photos from the previous year. Here’s how to make a DIY annual photo album.
- Katie also gave Retro photo viewers as gifts one year. It was such a cool idea and a great way to memorialize a particular vacation or event. She filled it with images of our family vacation to Brazil from a few months prior. We keep meaning to order more, maybe this post will encourage us to get on the ball this Christmas.
- Shoot film! More and more these days I’m taking the time and spending the money to shoot film. Film is so precious because there are only 36 shots (or less!) on a single roll. One rarely takes more than one shot of the same scene, which makes every photograph that much more special, especially the good ones! The following two were taken by little Alex in 2016!