“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean”
~ Ralph Hattersley
I often wonder why I have this all consuming drive to photograph and document life. I know I am not alone in this, I see countless others around me striving to hold on to these moments and create something tangible from a fleeting event. To hang on to it in some form. The theory: If I photograph it, it is not lost.
I read the words the other day ‘How did it get so late so soon?’ on one of my favourite photography blogs. I’ve had these words spinning round my head over and over for the last week or so trying to understand why they resonate with me and why I couldn’t shake them from my mind. The words are originally Dr Seuss’:
“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
Now I’m one of those people who does far too much thinking for my own good but no matter how much I think, I can’t put my finger on the ‘why?’. It was only when I was looking around my back catalog for a particular photo that I stumbled upon some images that made me realise why I do this. When Lola was 8 days old I took some photos of her – I posed her, put little props on her head and smoothed out her imperfect baby skin. She looked thoroughly adorable of course. But in this back catalog I had kept my ‘outtakes’ in a separate folder – the inbetween moments, the unposed, the spontaneous, and sometimes the out of focus or technically amiss – yet these were the real treasures. This was the real Lola – the way I had remembered her in all her beautiful, imperfect squishy glory. Like little keys they unlocked all of these beautiful memories of our first days together. To find these photos I felt both happy and sad. She’s so big now, a proper little girl. How did it get so late so soon?
I find the passing of time so bittersweet. It happens so fast that some days I feel as though life just snuck up on me and kind of snowballed out of my control. So, how do we reconcile the relentless march of time? Do we reflect and mourn the loss? Or ignore it and forge on revelling in the present moment and what’s to come? I know I need to do the latter more but I’ve realised now that capturing and collecting these memories is an important step that helps to keep me looking forward. Photography to me is an act of love and the photographs I take are the precious souvenirs from a time I once visited.