The 12th of the 12th 2017 is a date that is etched into my conscience, painfully and permanently! The day I said goodbye to my beautiful horse. A freezing cold and beautifully bleak winter’s day with a golden sunrise making heaven seem a place you could almost touch. And in those final moments while my heart screamed a silent No! Not yet! Not now! My head was firmly resolute that this was the ultimate precious gift I was able to give her. A closing gesture of love. Yet all I could think was that I didn’t have enough photos…
Completely ridiculously absurd, considering the thousands of pictures I have of her, accumulated over 25 years. My whole adult life spent with this incredible horse documented forever, safely backed up, printed and adored. What I really wanted was more time, another day, an hour or simply a minute, one that I could stretch out to make it last for another lifetime…
And now months later, when photographs are all I have left, to prompt memories, remember the sweet details, a reminder of a moment almost forgotten, saved forever because someone had a camera that day. It’s times like this that make me so grateful to be a photographer, to be able to capture life’s memories in a format you can hold in your hand as well as your heart, to enable your memories to be shared with others.
Photos allow us to warp time: The early years I spent with my horse, captured in a photo now held in my daughter’s hand. Photos from a time before my child was born, brought to life in that split second where the camera shutter opened. And now, years later, bringing some comfort to her grief at losing the friend she grew up with, a horse that was her confidante, playmate, her huge giant ‘teddy bear’, and on occasion, her climbing frame! Photos that have sparked tears, conversations, questions, stories and smiles.
Photos help us to heal, painful perhaps initially, but oh so comforting to remember the good times, and over time, the tears become less frequent, the smiles more often.
So whilst this blog post is a tribute to Shan, my beautiful, amazing, quirky, cantankerous mare… the power of any photograph is truly incredible. Whether sharing their newborn photos with the now grown up child, looking at prints from your own childhood with grandparents now suffering with alzheimer’s, remembering the day you met the man who is now your husband, or discovering images of family that you never got to meet. A photograph, literally translated as a ‘drawing with light’ but very simply is a moment frozen in time with the ability to evoke so many feelings, emotions and memories.
We are now in an age of technology where photographs are part of our daily lives in such a way they are taken for granted, but how many of your images are safe? If you lost your Facebook or Instagram accounts tomorrow, would you still be able to access your precious pictures? What happens when the battery on your smartphone dies…permanently? Are your photographs backed up? When they become your only link to the past, their significance is beyond priceless. xx