Picture Perfect

I was watching an old TV show yesterday when it was noted that the then most popular hobby was photography. Then was in the mid-1960s.

In mid-60 I was still measuring my age in single digits and picture taking was a natural extension of any structured family gathering – birthdays, Christmas, opening pitch at the local little league. After the pictures were taken the film was developed and the printed pictures camerabecame the center of attention for an evening. They were passed around among the family, mounted in (or at least stuck between the covers of) one of the many family picture albums, and that’s where there seemed to rest until happily ever after.

Fast forward 50 years. That’s when my father passed away. I don’t know when the custom began or if it was/is even a custom but then it was a thing to display pictures on French memory boards and scatter about during the viewings. My mother and sisters spent hours going through albums and boxes and envelopes to select the images that represented as many of the 8 plus decades my father walked the earth. Pictures I remembered from those family “picture shows” were there and there were also pictures from milestone events since and not so milestone events before. Faces of relatives who had died before I was born shared space with the one of a much younger father. While we were occupied fitting remembered names to forgotten visages we became caught up in remembering lives lived rather than one so recently lost.

The interesting thing was that after the funeral and things returned to their normal paces and places, those pictures didn’t. Every time I stopped by at my mother’s house a new old picture found its way into a frame on a wall, a spot on the mantel, a corner of a mirror. “Who is that,” was answered with who, when, where, what was happening, what happened next, what everyone else in and not in the picture thought about it, turning a simple question into a wonderful story.

Today the most popular hobby is, depending on what site you pluck out of the 2 million or so that a search returns, either gardening or fishing. Photography is still pretty high on all the lists. A quick peek at Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social site confirms that. Hopefully some of those images will last for 50 years so when today’s generation fast forwards the next mid-60s they will turn into their own stories. And rest happily ever after.

That’s what I think. Really. How ‘bout you?




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