I bought my first camera, a Baby Brownie, when I was about 12 or 13 years old. Taking pictures meant buying film and paying for developing the film and printing the photos. Some turned out fine, some were awful. During the early years of school and in the beginning years of our marriage, film and developing and printing were expensive, so picture taking was limited. A general feeling that common place things and scenes of daily life were just too mundane to bother photographing was a huge mistake. Here are a few examples of photos I wish I would have taken (or taken more of):
- Pictures of the houses where we lived, including rooms, furnishings, and yards.
- Pictures of the streets and neighborhoods where we lived.
- Pictures of the towns and cities in which we lived.
- Pictures of the schools we attended.
- Pictures of our friends.
- Pictures of our siblings, our parents, our grandparents, and our other close relatives.
- Pictures of the trips we took.
- Pictures of our prize possessions.
- Pictures of the seasons.
- Pictures of the beauties of nature and the surrounding countryside.
As we go through the humdrum of daily life, it usually never occurs to us that today's commonplace will be tomorrow's cherished memory. What did that room look like? Describe the street where you lived. Do you have a photo of you with your grandparents? One of my sisters reminded me the other day that the only photographic family history we have for several years while we were growing up was from my Baby Brownie and, a bit later, my Box Baby Brownie. Then my sisters took over my early cameras and continued to take pictures. But when memories fog and we try to remember and we think fondly of scenes, sights, people, belongings, and family history, we often regret that we did not pay attention and take more photos. Today's commonplace is tomorrow's cherished memory. Take more photos. Even a bad photo of an important person or event can become a tearstained memento of inestimable value later in life.