“There is a power in photography. A photograph can trigger a forgotten memory, a laugh, a song, a smile, an emotion. A photograph can take you back to another time and place, maybe a better time, perhaps a harder time, a time when you made it through. A photograph is honest and it is truth. It is a moment in time, a proverbial blink of an eye. The moment has passed, and yet, a photograph is someone’s history.” -Aileen Reilly
The loss of someone, or something, anything really, can be and usually is heartbreaking. You feel less whole, you feel like something will always be missing, and you feel like nothing, and no one will ever be able to fill this void again. You will forever remember this person in your heart, from the memories you once shared. And although you may feel like all you really need are those memories ingrained in your mind, having those visuals, that raw data of emotion from those times you shared together printed on paper, and/or saved to your digital devices makes you feel like no matter how much time passes, or how many other things fill your plate, these memories will never be forgotten, and never blurred.
Just one look at that photo and you are instantly brought back. That smile that was your favorite part of him, the light behind it that inherently forced laughs and smiles on others, is forever ingrained in your memory and is something you miss so much. So what if you could see it again? This is exactly what photos allow for. That visual that always reaches us in ways we never thought it could. You don’t realize how much you miss seeing someone’s face, and that smile until you can no longer see it.
The beauty of a photo is not only allowing for these visuals but also bringing you back to a different place, world, and memory in time. As Aileen so eloquently stated, perhaps a harder time, but also maybe a better time that reminds you of the harder times, or those times that you made it through. Of course that moment in time will be cherished forever with or without a photo but god, doesn’t seeing that image just makes it that much more special?
These photographs are indeed our history, but are also the present and future for us. The image we will use when he is on our mind and we want so badly to see him, those times that you need to cry because you miss him so much, and even those times when it’s unbearable to see but still so valuable; these relate more to our present. As for our future, after we have cycled through those five stages of grief, these photos will serve to make us smile wholeheartedly, to really help us remember and look back on those happy memories we share, remember the good life he lived, and the better lives we lived because he was a part of it. These photos will make us cry in our future too, but only because he touched our lives so deeply. Without these photos his image would become nothing but a memory that begins to feel distant.
So as I said earlier, we may never feel fully whole again, and his presence will be FOREVER missed, and the room will feel more than slightly empty every holiday, but, because we have this truly unbelievable gift of photography no one can ever truly be forgotten, and no moment surpassed. That smile, laugh, the stories he always told, and the mannerisms he was famous for will reincarnate and come back to life in the form of these photos, each and every time they cross our sight. So yes Aileen; it is certainly safe to say there is power in photography.
"A photograph is honest and it is truth."