Every summer on our family vacation my mother would say “One, two, three, cheese” and snap a photograph. My brother and I always hated being in the pictures and wondered why she still made us be in the picture. So why did my mother insist on making us be in the picture? She wanted us to be able to remember every place we have traveled together and capture the memory. The fact we take photographs is a sign we want to preserve our memories.
Memories with family and friends can be remembered by taking photographs. Photographs aren’t just for the sake of taking but they also have great personal meaning and are essential to how we may view our own lives. Naturally a human’s memory does not have the ability to recall all events from the past. Therefore, photographs are representations we use to capture the past and recollect those days. Family albums have played a significant role as a directory of family ideology. It is a remembrance of our family history and it holds sentimental ties within us.
Viewing photographs of deceased loved ones enables to document their lives as they happened and to remember all the memories they had made. I believe that family photographs are form of cultural and personal artifacts expressing unity or coherence. The unity of my family’s photo album has so much significance clustered into one book. Despite the fact this album may be insignificant to others, it carries so much meaning to myself personally. It is a visual of my past and present life. It shows a way of communication and indicated how my family interacts within each other and our relationship among us.
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It highlights the most important days of each one of us' lives such as birthdays, family gathering, graduation, wedding photos, and more. Family photo albums represent times of happiness and sadness, but as a whole they are one item that can inform us of our family history in such a significant way. For instance, one can represent something so happy and excited in my life such as birthday party and other one can bring sadness from looking at a photo of past loved ones I lost. One photo that is particularly special to me is a group family shot that was taken at our yearly family gathering back in Korea. Every year we used to go camping in the woods or at least have a big barbeque party for about twenty people gathered up including my aunts, uncles, and cousins. This particular photo symbolizes my family sticking together as one. Although the moments passed me by, these photographs keep the memory alive. I know that whenever I am feeling sad or depressed, I can just look back and remember the good times I had with my family who lives so far away. Nowadays, most people keep their photographs online such as on their personal webpage or Facebook.
However, having the photographs printed and keeping them inside our actual real photo albums seems more meaningful and heart touching. I believe photographs represent the record of a time offering eyewitness version of history that reflects relationships among people, objects, and events. For instance, before I was born my paternal grandparents passed away and I was never given the opportunity to get to know them in person. I was pleased to see the photos of them in our family photo album that my dad showed me when I was young. Photographs offer proof of past lives and they sustain their power of a personal expression of a time.
Family photographs are signifiers of a collective life and it is a constant reminder of a connectedness like kinship or friendship. For instance, in times of disrupted or disconnected relations among people, including times of war, when isolation and displacement become the regulation. At that time the family photograph provides reassurance or encouragement and it reconnects individuals and addresses the lost balance. Personal images, like family photographs, offer an emotional and even ideological foundation for memory to remind us of these differences in order to understand the present.
I definitely want to share this pleased experience to my own children later in life because I feel that I truly have benefited from knowing about my youth even those events that I do not remember. Even that one particular photo could bring back the memories and that one particular photo could remind us to never forget that event, person, and place and be in my mind and heart forever. Family photo albums may take time and energy to complete but it is worthy and it presents a reward of a book full of memories of your own family. All the events that took place throughout the history of my life are all kept together collectively.
It highlights the most important events that have happened to my life so far. Lastly, I believe family photographs are perishable commodities that need to be preserved. After all, you don’t make memories but you live them. A family album is almost a treasured heritage or legacy that speaks volume about my cherished times and keeping up the unforgettable and valuable memories of a family reunion, a picnic, birthday, get together or any other family celebrations and good times with a well kept family album. Family memoirs, vintage or new, are priceless and cannot be bartered or exchanged for anything.
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