Monday, May 15, 2006

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you

That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel

Title from "Pictures of You," G-d bless the Cure! If that looks familiar and you're not a Cure fan, that's probably because Hewlet Packard used the song in a commercial a few years ago.

I've been thinking a lot about photographs. I LOVE photography. I grew up with a dark room in the basement. It had been my grandfather's back in the day. My dad never used it, but I was always fascinated by it. I got my first camera when I was 6 and I never looked back.

I don't know if some of my personality traits are why I love photography or if they didn't exist before I discovered photography. Did they lead me to the camera or did the camera lead me to them?

I was listening to Vienna Teng today and this bit from "Say Uncle" really caught my attention:

"I retrieve the memories quickly as I can
add them to the portrait
we all draw in our minds
your body gone, we shall keep the man."

Some people paint portraits in their mind. They piece together fragments of different memories in order to form a whole. Me? I've always taken photographs long before I first held a camera. To this day, I can still see exactly what I was wearing on my third birthday. The picture of my aunt's face as she walked through the front door is frozen in time. She passed away when I was 2, so I must have been very young when that happened. Still, her face at that moment is forever frozen in my memory. I've photographed these moments in time all my life.

My only knowledge of most of my relatives is through their pictures. There are the distant cousins who died long ago, but at the same time, there are my grandfather's pictures. I knew him briefly, but through the photographs he left behind, I learned so much more about him. He had such a wicked sense of humor. I love it. The man who never made it past the sixth grade was able to do such amazing things with his pictures. Through lighting, posing and techniques done while he printed the photos, I can see his brilliance. My grandmother died long before I was born, but through his pictures of her (that range from their courtship through the year she passed away), I got to know her and how much he loved her.

Sometimes I wonder what fuels me. Am I drawn to the camera or is the camera drawn to me?

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