Saturday, May 2, 2015

Justine's Journal #37

52 Weeks 500 Words


This is how it began: Justine (not her real name) decided to write 500 words (or as near as), anything goes, per week for 52 weeks. She would then submit it for anonymous posting, via me, her friend. Perhaps a pattern will emerge from her words, but at this stage it’s more an experiment I have agreed to share in. I’ll attempt to draw conclusions at the end of this. Stay tuned if this resonates with you.

Week 37

"Have you looked at your old photographs recently? The photos from the days of your film camera, those spools you saved up for and then developed when you could afford it? How much easier the digital age is when it comes to photos! Although, let us admit, having tangible pictures in an album or a box somewhere has far more value than a host of files on a computer. Those of you who have never been in that place, have been taking photos with a digital camera from the start of your recording instincts, cannot understand this. It isn't wrong; your journey is merely different.

I did it a while ago. I hauled out boxes of photos and spent hours going through them. Yes, if you remember, this was an attempt to create order from chaos, to put everything into a niche for ease of future reference. Most of them are now ‘sorted’ but it isn't yet finished. This, though, isn't the focus of my post.

I smiled over images of times gone by, laughed, cried a bit too, and the strangest thing is how viewing a photo is able to take you right back to the moment. I could smell the surroundings as my fingers caressed the shiny substance, and I could hear the noises at the time, I could feel the emotions of the one taking the picture. It was so real, it did cause smiles, laughter and tears, because I was again there. This is the beauty of an old photograph. Memory is the strangest thing. We never really forget anything, but the layers of life do tend to obscure them after a while. With concerted effort we may drag a pertinent memory from our recesses, but it is an effort in most cases. Something like hypnosis may bring it out faster, but as I've never been hypnotised, I can’t comment.

A photo is memory. The visual can nudge us into a time passed and we are again, for a few moments, right there. It is magic, in my opinion, the magic of our souls, because we never do forget. Sometimes we just need a bit of a nudge. A digital image, of course, is also a photo and a memory, and yet I find it doesn't quite achieve the same result. It isn’t tangible. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s as if the thing in your hands creates sensations that travel along your nerves to your memory banks. Perhaps I’m being fanciful!

I love my old photos whether organised or now, and in a year or so I’ll go back to remember. It is not the past I seek, though, for we should not live in the past. It’s the ability to remember. We are after all formed of all those moments. I had some really good moments, and I don’t want to ever forget them.

Go on, haul out your stash and see what happens for you." J



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