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“Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness.”

Andre Gide

My husband is constantly annoyed by my excessive camera operation.  Seriously, when we go somewhere, I constantly hear, “why did you have to bring that thing?” or “Can you just put that away now?”.  Finally, after a recent discussion about the intensity of my hobby, he asked me what I get from taking a great photograph.  What is it that makes me feel naked if I go somewhere without a camera?  My husband loves to play video games.  He loves the thrill of competition, the accomplishment of winning.  He loves the challenge.  Yes, I love the challenge of putting together a good photo or, at the very least, capturing it by happenstance.  I love the thrill.  I love that feeling I get when I am pleased with my work and others are too.  But that’s not the point.  All of those feelings are fleeting.

You know what I love the most about taking pictures?  The memories.  I have a horrible memory.  I don’t remember what my first baby was like when she was a baby.  I don’t remember movies until I’ve watched them at least three or four times.  Sometimes, I honestly can’t remember what I did yesterday.  In school I found myself memorizing a lot (as I’m sure a lot of you did as well), but the stuff I was supposed to soak up and remember took so much more effort than it did for my friends.  My husband can read a book, watch a movie, or see an event and remember almost every detail.  I simply can’t.

The fear that overtakes me when I realize I can’t remember something can be paralyzing at best.  How devastating it will be one day if I can’t remember anyone or anything at all!  I will have no pain or fear, but I will have no joy either.  I want to know what my life was like.  I want to remember the things we have done and the things we do.  I want to remember what my children look like at every stage of their lives. I want to remember my husband, my family.

When I was younger, I journaled quite a bit.  Sometimes I still do.  However, I have found that a picture really does speak a thousand words.  It saves me time.  It is a visual that keeps my memory alive.  My dad takes lots of pictures.  He always has.  I’m so thankful for the lines and lines of photo albums that sit upon his bookshelves.  I can go to them any time I want and remember.  I want my pictures to rustle up the leaves of my memory that have blown away and to stir the emotions that I maybe once forgot.  My photos are certainly not the greatest, and they may never be great, but they will accomplish their purpose.

In answering my husband’s question….well, when I have a camera in my hands, the whole world gets kind of quiet,  and for one very brief moment I am still while the world is moving.  My troubles melt away, and my focus becomes less about the troubles in my world and more about the preservation of one perfect moment….over and over again.