By Alicia Barnes, liciabobesha.com
Two years ago I was just getting to know this squishy face. Today, I have thousands* of photos documenting from then to now.
I have him taking his first latch. I have him before his first bath. I have him discovering his hands. I have him sitting up. I have him throwing balls, starting to crawl, splashing in the tub, sleeping in his car seat, sipping out of a straw, shopping at the grocery store, learning to slide, looking out the airplane window, throwing sand at the beach, opening presents, hugging friends, and shaking his head.
I take too many photos. I know it. They take up gigs on my computer. I have trouble keeping up with editing, sorting, and sharing them all, yet I keep taking photos. I can’t stop. I won’t stop, and here’s why: the only time time stops is when it’s frozen in a photo.
The last two years have gone by so fast I can barely remember them. Each photo helps me to not only slow down time, but to stop it. Photos are my time machine. My child will never be as young again as he is in the split second that photo was taken.
Photos are magic in that way. Time passes, but a smile captured in a photo lives on even after the person smiling doesn’t. There’s a reason people hang photos on walls and store decades worth of albums. There’s a reason why historical societies and libraries scan and preserve crumbling images of strangers. Photos tell a story in a way nothing else can. Photos are a history with fewer complications than words. Photos are not bound by language. Photos taken in Germany, China, India, Canada, or Chile can be easily “read” even by small children regardless of their native language or land.
Yes, I take and share too many photos. I know. I have no doubt that I’ve lost Facebook friends over it. I don’t mind. I take and post for me, my family and friends. We don’t have the luxury of living near family. Each update is a chance for my parents, brother and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, to feel connected, to watch him progress, to rejoice with me as he meets yet another milestone. So I keep taking photos.
I take photos because I have never seen a photo of my father before he was 19 years old. I have seen exactly one of my mother before that age. They didn’t come from families with the resources for photos. I don’t know what my parents looked like as babies. I don’t know what my great grandparents (save one photo of my great grandfather) looked like at any point in their lives. I don’t even have many photos of my own grandparents (one of which I’ve never seen). There has been too much history lost, so I keep taking photos.
My descendants will have a photo history of my family. While it seems like a glut now, storage fails. Hurricanes and fires happen. Technology becomes obsolete. Boxes are lost, discarded, stolen. I have no delusions that all of these photos I take will be around forever, but the more there are, the more I have to enjoy now and the more that will survive and be preserved indefinitely.
So yes, I take too many photos and post too many photos. I don’t regret it one bit. How could I regret capturing any of these moments:
* This number is totally made up. I have no idea how many photos I have other than to say a whole lot. Gigs upon beautiful, cherished gigs.