Photographs. Photographs and memories.
Does anyone not keep photographs? Nowadays, we have digital photos and can easily carry them around in convenient thumb-size memory cards, portable drives, digital picture albums and digital frames. We can send them around by email and post them online where everyone can look through our photo albums. Gone are the days when photographs had to be kept in large unwieldy albums that displayed them in military alignment or in an open-layout flat sticky surface. Those photographs are now yellowed, many of them having acquired actual sepia tones. Apparently, the sepia coloring was not always done on purpose. I know, because I have several photographs that were black and white or colored when they were brand new, but have now begun to fade.
When the photographs fade, do the memories as well? The people who knew the faces and places in the photographs eventually die and soon, all those photographs are but faces and places in somebody’s past.
I have photographs. When I was still in elementary school, one of my most cherished possessions was my camera and I took photos of everyone. That was one way I could connect with people, being quite an introvert as a child. I was also camera shy. Not that I don’t know how to pose for a camera or won’t when I have to, but if I can avoid those candid shots, I will. I was so incredibly conscious of how I looked, especially in photographs that I didn’t want to be in them if I could help it. I couldn’t avoid my father’s camera, though, as it was one of his favorite hobbies, and we have hundreds and hundreds of photographs taken by my father.
One of the most regrettable things, though, is that several of those photographs were developed as projection slides when slide projectors became quite fashionable. My folks kept those slides in cabinets that acquired dust and moisture from the humid air and from leaks and drips during the rainy season, which consists of about half of each and every year in the Philippines. Eventually, those slides developed mold and mildew that covered them until they were irrecoverable. There must have been hundreds of those, including several of my later dance performances with the Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe, when I was already performing as a soloist.
I remember, almost all throughout high school, our “official” class photographer, Jenny Francisco, often tried to catch me in a candid pose. I don’t think she ever did. I didn’t mind so much getting photographed with friends or in groups, but I really tried to avoid those solo, candid shots. Many times, they ended up with my face turned away, as you will see in some of the photographs I will be adding to this page.
It will be part of my major organization and documentation project–photographing or scanning everything I have kept over the years so that I will have a digital record of my memories that is easier to go through than boxes and bags and scrapbooks and albums that get dusty and musty and moldy with age.
But that also means that I will be going through those boxes and bags and envelopes and albums that are dusty and musty, thankfully not moldy, before I no one remembers the faces and places in those photographs.