Nicole O'Neil Photography
I've recently been going through old albums and boxes of prints that I need to get organized. There are SO many containers full. When my grandmother passed, I took the prints and albums from her house because they were the most important to me of everything there. They literally tell the stories of hers and all of our lives. There is something so emotional and powerful about holding these images in my hands and going through them. Images from our lives can truly bring us back to a moment in time. We can feel it in our body and our emotions are triggered.
My grandmother was lost way too soon and my grandfather much earlier than her. Most of the younger cousins never had the chance to meet them or did for only a short time. But we have these images to share, to tell them the stories about them and have visuals of who they were and what they did. They especially love seeing images of themselves and their parents younger.
When I look at those images, I get very emotional. I was fortunate to have a lot of time with my grandmother as a child and she was one of the most important people in my life. She had Alzheimers and I ended up taking care of her at a young age myself and that whole experience was difficult. However, when I look at images of her from before then and of images of us together, it's overwhelmingly happy emotion. It brings me back to those summers we spent at our cottage or the days we spent singing and dancing around her kitchen. It brings me back to her quirky personality and the way she used to sit and curl her hair every morning at the table with her tea and a cigarette.
Looking at images from even before I was around teaches me my family's history. Further, it shows the difference in culture, clothing and settings that are nostalgic and educational.
I fear many are losing this. This ability to pull open an album or keepsake box of prints to view and share. Let's face it. We take SO many Digitals. TOO MANY digitals. We don't truly enjoy them or look back at them. What will we do later to Hand them down? "Here's my password and 100,000 photos. Enjoy." I want the future generations in my family to be able to pull out albums and prints of the most important times in their lives and enjoy them rather than them sitting on a hard drive with excessive amounts of images that include outtakes and 10 of the same image. I want them to feel and touch the images and sit next to each other viewing them and laughing/crying.
I keep framed images around my apartment and will have more once I have more space. These next two are images I clearly remember taking many years ago of two important people. They are more valuable to me now because this cousin is grown and graduating college and I can look at this and remember that exact day I took the picture.
The second is the man who was like a grandfather to me and passed away two years ago. I never got to say goodbye and he was so special, I am happy I have this image of him to look at every day as I walk by that shelf. It puts a smile on my face.
This image was taken in Italy the first time I spent a full 3 weeks there. It was an unbelievable experience and though, I have many digital images from it, I printed the most important ones so I could enjoy them and looking at them can take me right back to that life changing trip in an instant. It's especially great to see these images if I'm having a tough day or not feeling well because they always put a smile on my face.
I've been taking old images and creating high quality albums. This one is already more valuable to me since these girls are growing up so fast and they seem so much older than they were even 3 years ago when they were taken. Their personalities shine through and I can't wait to hand these printed products down to them later on.
I print photos taken with my good camera and even iPhone photos. I choose favorites that capture moments that were really special or important. I keep them displayed and as the previous ones mentioned, they continue to become even more valuable to me as time moves forward.
So, why do I share this all with you? Because I want you to PRINT YOUR PHOTOS. There are so many apps to help you organize and print your cell phone favorites in little books or prints. They may not be the best quality but they are still worth printing!
As for hiring a professional, whether myself or someone else, take advantage of having those images printed for you. Not only will that already be done and you don't have to think about it when your life is already so busy, but they'll be on quality you know will last. Many of the images I'm going through are actually faded and grainy (and makes me sad) which happens to prints over time if they are printed at places like CVS and Shutterfly. Your most important images, the ones you hire a photographer for, should certainly be printed on the BEST quality that will truly last to hand down to future generations. Don't let your children and grandchildren miss out on this beautiful tradition of pulling out prints and albums and being able to see the stories of theirs and your life.