Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My time machine

My Second Cousin Claudia
 I went through a couple of old photo books and was inspired by what I found.

Photography is a type of time machine. Through photographs we can go back in time. We can revisit our past. We can relive the memories of our youth.

Sometimes we can go far enough back to see things that were before we were.

To the left is my second cousin Claudia.
Private Jesse Hope 

My grandpa served in the Korean War. He was tank driver. He told me very select stories about his time over there. Most of his stories about his time in Korea weren't about the war, but one story he shared with me was about the war.

He told me about how cold Korea got in the winter. The average temperature in Seoul in January was 20 degrees Fahrenheit. He went on to explain how many times he, and other tank drivers, would have to strap dead, frozen soldiers to his tank and carry them from the battle field to next checkpoint.

I was horrified by the story and as a result, have had a very concise view of the realities of war. After hearing that story, I found a new appreciation of the show M.A.S.H. Some of the more serious episodes, the ones that dealt with the pain and death during war time really hit me emotionally. I had forgotten that emotional response until I went to the theater and watched Saving Private Ryan. There is nothing glorious about war. There is nothing romantic about war. War is brutal. War is violent. War is horrifying. Do you see the hardened look in his eyes? He is 19 years old in this photo. 19 years old and hardened by the horrors of war. For better or worse, war changes a man.

Me at 2 years old
You don't see these on rooftops any more

My childhood was captured through annual photos and everyday shooting opportunities.

Top left, me when I was young kid, unaware of the life before me. Above before the days of satellite dishes, when cable television was only for the rich, TV was brought to you via rooftop antennae. My kids have no understanding of the purpose of these metal contraptions.

Fishing for cat fish outside of Bethal Missouri
Me and my great uncle Marvin
After my freshman year in high school I took a trip with my mom to Iowa and spent two weeks with my great uncle Marvin. Most of the trip was my mom picking Uncle Marvin's brain for family history, traveling to various cemeteries and old family houses. I had a blast though. I learned a lot about my heritage and saw some cool locations. Above left, was a taken at a private lake where we fished for cat fish. The long socks were not a fashion statement, I have always preferred short socks. No these socks were to protect me from Chiggers. It worked. My mom wasn't so lucky.

Above right is my Uncle Marvin and I standing in front of the house of my grandpa's childhood. This is the location that I found the 1930's Pepsi Cola bottle, which I still have. This bottle could have been drank by my grandpa, Uncle Marvin or their parents.

Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert, California
Photographs give us a window into the past, a visual wormhole, time and again, to view what has passed.

Keep capturing those memories.

Keep collecting those memories.

Scan those old photos.

Print your photos and put them in an album or make a book using Blurb.com.

Revisit them frequently.

Talk about them with family.

Pass them on to your kids.

You and your memories will live on through your photographs generations after you have passed and your kids, grand kids and great-grand kids will cherish your efforts.

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