Documenting a Life With Pictures

Hillary - Manchester, New Hampshire
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that life should be documented with pictures. As life goes on, memories fade and some slip away entirely. When I think back to one specific day in my life, some aspects may be clear, but others are hazy. Pictures can be used as a portal into the past. Lost memories can resurface when one looks at a photograph with smiling faces and familiar backgrounds. Photographs can do more than remind me of just one moment. They can put me back into my Uncle Rick’s yard with a warm summer’s breeze blowing the smell of barbequing steak at me and the sounds of my little cousins trying to catch a butterfly. Pictures are the connection I have with the people who are gone and the moments I have once lived.

The first time I was planning to go to Greece, the two items I packed were a camera and an extra memory card. A few months earlier, I bought a digital camera specifically for this trip. I wanted to make sure I could look back on everything I would experience during those 10 days. I started recording memories as soon as I got to the airport. Every detail needed to be on my camera. When I first arrived in Greece, I was overwhelmed and soon began taking pictures ranging from an olive tree, to an ancient temple, to a man on a moped. I took so many pictures that I had to ration the pictures so I would not run out of space on my memory cards. My total picture count was 964. I did not want any regrets. I felt that if I turned down a chance to take a photo, I would have lost that chance and possibly that memory forever. I knew that trying to keep all the precious details from the trip would be like trying to keep water in my cupped hands. I believe my pictures will never let the water trickle through my fingers.

The warmth from the sun shining down on me, the sounds from the music on the street, and the smells coming from restaurants will all come back to me when I look at my precious photos and am transported back to the past. I am no longer in Europe, but looking at my pictures takes me there for a few moments. Looking at the photograph with the strangely dressed man makes me laugh because I laughed when I looked through the lens of my camera as I took that picture. As I live every day looking at the small things around me, I never hesitate to take a picture and add that picture to the ones I have already documented. I believe in documenting a life with pictures.