This I Believe

Claudia - fredericksburg, Virginia
Entered on April 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

I believe in the power of capturing emotions through photographs. Expressive images convey meaning through a mood or atmosphere that can express an emotional tone, or state of mind. Earlier this year when I was going through the all of the pictures that my mother kept in her closet, I realized that in each photograph there was a different type of emotion. The pictures ranged from the days when I was in karate class to my brother’s baptism. As I flipped through the loose pictures and the photo albums, I was amazed at how it was possible freeze a moment in time and have it be remembered forever.

One particular album that moved me was the one that contained my parent’s wedding photographs. The pictures seemed a little outdated. My mother’s wedding dress was the huge poufy popular style of the 80’s. Her hair was all fluffed up in giant curls. My father had on a dark suit and a silly grin on his face. There were pictures of the ceremony in the church in which both of my parents had serious faces and then there were also pictures of the reception and of the invited guests where everyone was laughing and smiling. The photographer took pictures of my mother and her bridesmaids and they all faced her with smiles of friendship and happiness. The pictures that were taken of my father and his groomsmen managed to show them all laughing at something that was said. It felt as if an inside joke had been told just by looking at the picture. The pictures of my parents while they were dancing the ceremonial bride and grooms dance made me feel the same emotion that they felt that special day. The photographer captured the way my mother’s eyes sparkled and they way my dad’s eyes crinkle when he smiles. My favorite pictures are the close ups of my mother cutting the cake with my father’s hand over hers on the knife. The genuine smiles on their faces while they look at the cake evoke happiness. The album tells a story of a new beginning of romance.

At the same time that there is joy there is also sadness. My father owns a house in Honduras that he had built before he came to the United States. My family took pictures of this pretty two story house with an expansive front and back yard that had many trees. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch tore through Honduras and demolished almost everything in its path. The house had a couple of trees fall into one side, most of the entire roof was blown away and the whole bottom level of the house was flooded. The tenants who were renting the house from my father took a couple of pictures and then sent it to him. The damage was devastating and looking at the pictures made me want to cry. My father had the house rebuilt as soon as most of the debris was cleared.

Photographs can make me be aware of and appreciate all emotions. During emotional times, I can just pick up a picture of a happier time or a picture of a smiling person and feel a smile trying to shine through. I love photography and how expressively creative it is in capturing moments that should never be forgotten.