Print It Out!

"When you think about the quantity of documentation from our daily lives that is captured in digital form, like our interactions by email, people's tweets, and all of the World Wide Web, it's clear that we stand to lose an awful lot of our history."    Dr. Vint Cerf, VP Google

In a recent cocktail conversation with an octogenarian, he expressed that same concern.  His point:  the great historical biographies were written based on correspondence between historical figures and their colleagues, family, and friends.  Letters and diaries gave great insight into these lives.  Today, emails are deleted, photos are on cell phones that go kerplunk in the river and all 1,000 photos are lost, no one writes letters, and journals are kept "in the cloud".

Well, my friends, that cloud may burst and we may become a second Dark Ages.  Without printed documents where are we when electronic data becomes corrupt or our children no longer have the hardware required to access our photo history?

My advice:  PRINT IT OUT!  

Where would we be if Dorothea Lange did not capture and print the plight of migrant families or Edward Curtis did not provide a glimpse into the Civil War?  Yes, they worked with negatives instead of digital data, and had to print it out to share.  It was a different time and resources and technology were limited.  Don't just leave your memories on your media card or your hard drive - it can fail! 

One of my friends recently created a family photo wall in her home.  She picked about 30 pictures and printed them out.  Put them in inexpensive frames.  And hung them on the wall.  Use Walgreens, or Costco, or whomever and go to Michael's or online for frames.  Cheap and fun and conversation starters.

When my mom was asked what she would grab in case of a fire she always said, "my photo albums".  (probably even before her kids!).  I now have many of those albums and it was such a blessing when my parents passed away to go back to 1918 and see them as babies.

Our photos are not only memories.  They are a visual history for future generations.  

So, print them out.  Pick 10 per month. Store them in a box if need be.  It is fun to sit with that box and look at them in years to come.

And if we don't, what will we have for Throw Back Thursdays on Facebook in years to come?






The Dash Journey

"The key to success is to work hard, love what you do, and be nice to others"  David W. Rewick

In the past three years my sister, mother, father and two of my dearest friends, Ellen and Sue,  passed away.  Not a day goes by that at least one of those five people crosses my mind.  Each of them played a pivotal role in my life and they each in turn are the reason that I found my way back to my passion: photography.  

This is Dash…a two-year old goofy, gawky, goony, golden retriever.  Her name is derived from a poem by Linda Ellis called The Dash.  The premise of the poem is this:  When we die, on our gravestone will be etched the year we were born, the year we died, both connected by a dash.  The two dates are really insignificant and the part that really matters is the dash between them.  What did we do with our "dash"?

Did we race through our time always looking for the next best thing?  Did we regret our past and live in the future?  Were we kind to all beings? Did we work at something we loved?  Was there peace and compassion in our heart?  Did we take notice of the everyday and live in gratitude?

I like to think of my "dash" in these terms as Thich Nhat Hanh so eloquently says: "When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens and we can be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love."  Simple and sage advice.

Yet, at times it is easier to love others than it is to accept and nurture ourselves.  If we planted a garden and the lettuce did not grow, we would not blame the lettuce.  We would see if the lettuce needed water or fertilizer or sunshine.  When we are not thriving we often blame ourselves instead of looking how we can enrich our own soil to foster growth.  Tend your "dash" with love and compassion and watch it grow and bloom.

Too often we photographers are hyper critical of our work and compare ourselves to others.  "I'm not as talented as they are. My work has no value.  I'm a failure"  Don't blame yourself or your photography.  Water and fertilize your craft by seeking pure joy in the moment.  Looking through the lens is a gift.  A moment between you and the subject that no one else will ever have.  Savor the experience for its intimacy and connection.  

After all, this is your "dash".  Yours and yours alone.  Go for it with gusto, just as goofy, gawky Dash does now.