I got my first camera at age 7 or 8 and I haven’t stopped taking photos since.
My parents were always taking photos, and still are, and it’s what I was used to. My mom kept her photos very organized. She had a big bookshelf full of albums and scrapbooks of our kid artwork and other childhood “important” papers. There were family photo albums, and then albums for each of us kids. We looked at the albums so much that they started to fall apart, and Mom liked to point out that they were expensive albums that were supposed to last forever. Oops. For as long as I can remember, photos and memories have always been a part of my life, and I’ve always found them important. I followed after Mom’s example and even in second or third grade started my very own photo albums of my photos. I had no idea that most of the population didn’t take so many photos, and if they did, they were most likely stored in shoe boxes in drawers, under beds, or in the attic.
In high school I made the old-fashioned sort of scrapbooks, but my freshman year of college (’98-’99) Mom introduced me to a whole new kind of scrapbooking. It consisted of pretty papers and scissors and templates. Mom gave me a scrapbook and papers and other tools to start a book of my own (I think for Christmas). After that, each summer, in between years at college, I would come home and scrapbook the last school year of photos. I would set up a table in the living room and camp out there for a couple of days scrapping all of my photos before my busy summer at work started up at the hotel (and later this hotel).
The summer after I graduated from college, I went on choir tour to Norway and Sweden, then lived in an apartment I knew was just for the summer, then on to a house for a couple of months, then to an apartment I had a lease for a year for with my friend Kristy (and then Sarah/saraj). 2002 was a crazy busy unstable year to say the least. At the beginning of the summer my beloved camera that I had gotten in 1996 before my summer in Paraguay, had finally broken. Dad knew that I had a bunch of friends getting married that summer and how much I loved taking photos, so he surprised me with a new fuji camera. I was ecstatic! I took so many photos that summer.
I had a big room to myself at my apartment with Kristy (then Sarah) in Roseville, and then another big room at my next apartment with Masha. In all that time of moving around and taking photos with my film camera (keep in mind this is before everyone and their mother had a digital camera), I hadn’t made time to scrapbook anything, except for gift books for friends here and there, and I hadn’t even put my photos in albums. They were all organized in little bags inside a shopping bag, ready to be scrapbooked. One day I decided to look at some of the photos, and I couldn’t find them anywhere. I frantically searched my room, my closet, everywhere I could think before it set in. I had the bag of photos next to some other bags of garbage when I was cleaning, and I must have thrown them away. Yes, I threw my photos away. Not much can compare to what I felt that day. It still makes me sad now. I had thrown all the photos away from the year 2002, and the first part of 2003. Graduation, birthday, 4 weddings, all my time spent at the places I lived, photos with Renata while she was here from Brazil, photos with my long distance boyfriend. It was ALL GONE. It is very strange not to have photos to look at of those things. Because my life is so very documented in photos, it’s almost like those things didn’t happen. I know they did, but they don’t feel as real.
When Renata was here from Brazil for the month of August, I told her about how I didn’t have photos from the other time that she was here in 2002. She was kind enough to scan in photos and some of them I don’t remember ever seeing before. I look so young, and life was so different for me then. I barely remember being this person.
Moral of the story- life can still go on without photos, but I think it’s better with them. And I always put photos straight into albums, even if I know I’m eventually going to scrap them anyway. 😉