What’s your story?

For a better part of my life, I have been an avid picture taker; capturing moments on film for as far back as I can remember.

Before digital, we took these films in to be printed.  Good shots or bad, it was sometimes a crap shoot what you would end up with, thus making it part of the fun in reviewing your pictures.

Recently, I undertook the task of sifting through a loved ones photos.  No longer having the space to store their albums, they were gifted to me.

It was up to me to determine which photos to save, which ones to give away & which ones to discard.  This proved to be a more difficult task then I envisioned.

As I was sat there flipping through the albums,  I was filled with a myriad of emotions.

These photos represented a life story, each telling a tale of a time or a place or person held dear over the course of a life journey.

I thought about the cupboard in my house, overflowing with photo albums, chalked full with my life experiences & my memories.  My story.

Who will sift through all of them when the time comes & determine which ones to keep, which ones to give away & which ones to discard?

Who will share my story?  Who will share yours?




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51 Responses to What’s your story?

  1. Karen says:

    Oh Lynn. I have thought the same so many times.

    • Lynn says:

      Karen, it was such a strange exercise. So many photos that had no meaning to me but it struck me that they certainly had meaning to my loved one. It was very difficult to just toss them away! Thanks for visiting today!

  2. Tammy says:

    Good Morning beautiful! A treasure of my heart was the opportunity of gathering my Gramma Annie’s pictures and organizing them – from age 15 through to 95. Pictures grasp so much more then beauty to the eyes….An incredible feeling of gratitude to able to do this. I purchased gorgeous boxes (large) from Michaels and distributed various family pictures to the families they pertained too…remaining pics my cousins & I then scanned them and we have copies………

    • Lynn says:

      Good morning my beautiful friend. I thought of you when I was going through all of these photos as I remember you talking about your experience. I too, passed along an number of photos to family.

      Perhaps I should start scanning my albums now for it could take years!!!

      Have a wonderful day girlfriend & thanks for taking the time to share.

  3. I went through our pictures. It was a big task. I scanned most of them but couldn’t throw out the original photos. I use some of the scanned pictures on facebook.

    • Lynn says:

      Good for you for going through all of your photos Janet! it is a huge task, that’s for sure.

      It’s funny. I love the convenience of digital but I must say, I am a tactile person & still love to pull all of my photo albums out & go through them.

      I found it very difficult when going through my loved ones albums, to throw photos out, even when they had to meaning to me. At the end of the day, I separated what I thought had meaning to our family & forced myself to discard those that did not.

      Thanks you for visiting & sharing today!

  4. I have spent my life as something of an urban nomad, always on the move, and have no kids, so I very much suspect that the footprint of my life (at least the visible part) will dissolve pretty quickly upon my demise.

    There was a time when that would have bothered me to distraction; when the absence of a record of my existence made me question the rationale behind my present existence. Not so much, now.

    The photographs I have taken and the stories I have written are just snap shots, if you will, of moments in time, and at their best, are pale imitations of the reality, easily replaced by the trillions of other such moments. And that is the beauty of the universe around me. I love that.

    Thanks for posting and starting a conversation, my friend.

    • Lynn says:

      Randall, you bring up a really interesting perspective.

      Perhaps it is more for my children & any possible future generations to come, that I hope that my story is shared.

      Regardless of what they do with all of my photos, I hope that they know who I was as a person.

      As I age, I see so much of my grandmother in myself, along with shades of my mother & my father. It is knowing the stories of their life, their struggles, their passions & their personalities, that I recognise these attributes in myself.

      Thank you so much for contributing to the piece today. Much appreciated my friend!

      • Almost feel like there needs to be a national repository to hold these collections when there is either no one to whom to leave them or simply no desire/ability to store. So much of human history has nothing to do with the so-called pivotal events. It feels like we know more about the daily lives of typical Neanderthal than someone who lived five centuries ago.

      • Lynn says:

        So very true! There is no shortage of Neanderthals making news on a daily basis…lol.

  5. Jodi says:

    Wow – sure makes me think………. thanks for sharing this today Lynn

  6. Robin says:

    Lynn, your words, always so well-written, invoke memories of all the pictures I have taken over the years and a reminder of the boxes I still have to sift through of my ancestors. Pictures of some that I know and most that I don’t. The biggest lesson here is to label those pictures! Names, Dates and Places. When we take the pictures we think we will always remember but as we get older we realize we may not or it may be left to someone else. Thanks for the memories and the trigger to get at my albums and boxes!

    • Lynn says:

      You bring up another very valid point Robin. It is so helpful to record the information you mentioned. As you know, we are now dealing with parents who cannot always recognize people or places, thus it becomes a guessing game!

      Good luck with those boxes. Thinking you had better pour yourself a nice glass of wine before you start!

  7. joannesisco says:

    You have voiced what I too have experienced and felt.

    I have a box of albums and loose photos *inherited* after my mom’s passing. Many have now been digitized, but I struggle to know what to do with the originals – even those with abysmal picture quality.
    … and as you say, there are then my own …

    These are weighty questions.

    • Lynn says:

      I must admit Joanne, the pile that ended up in the discard pile caused me to feel horrible about shredding & throwing out.

      As far as the abysmal quality, that reminded me of a shot I have in one of my albums of my Mom. I have no idea what my original intention of the picture was but it ended up a close up of my Mom’s face while standing in line to see the crown jewels in England. The look on her face is priceless. We describe it as looking like she just farted in front of the Queen. We still laugh about that one!

  8. I always make sure my kids are in the pictures, thus insuring they will be kept for at least one more generation.

  9. Sue Slaght says:

    Lynn having had to do this for others as you have done , we have sworn we will scan all of our photos to digital format. The task is massive but I do not want to leave that responsibility for someone else.

  10. Ann Coleman says:

    It is so hard to get rid of our old photos, because they do tell a story. I think it is natural to feel sad when we have to make those decisions, but it sounds as if you are doing so with thought and compassion, and we can’t really keep them all. I feel for you!

  11. restlessjo says:

    Oh, that’s a scary thought! 😦 I have to say I use my camera a bit like a diary these days. If I flip back through the images I can see what I’ve been up to in the last few days. (now the memory’s not so good 🙂 ) I shall likely have to dig out those albums as a winter project and get sifting, but I know that I will lose hours of my life once I start.

  12. What a poignant post – we all cherish those family photos because we were there in the moment…for those where we weren’t it really is a different matter.

    • Lynn says:

      You are right. The photos remind us of another time in our life, often stirring up a funny story, an adventure of some sort, or simply the reminder of someone we cherished.

      I think that is why there was an element of discomfort in throwing some of them out. For that person, they represented a part of their story. Although it meant nothing to me, I am certain it did to them.

  13. I have thought about this. My daughter is an only child, if something were to happen to my husband and me, she would have such an awesome task going through our things and especially photos. How do you throw away family pictures? It’s so hard. And now it seems like we hardly ever print them, we just save them on the computer. I totally get where you’re coming from. Karen

    • Lynn says:

      I think that is why it is important to share our story Karen, to take the time to ask questions to those who matter in our life. In the last days of my grandmother’s life, I remember sitting there for hours trying to take in bits of her life I didn’t know about her. Often, we don’t have this chance, thus missing the opportunity.

      • When I realized my mother was the last of my daughter’s grandparents, I sat with her and did an oral history. Actually learned some things I didn’t know about my heritage and she shared some lovely stories which I typed and shared with the rest of my family. At least there is some record now.

      • Lynn says:

        So wonderful to have taken that opportunity🙂

  14. Heyjude says:

    An interesting point Lynn. As you have said, the photos only have meaning in context. Maybe you should select a few of the ones which have a story around them and write about them? I started to write a book about my childhood to hand down to my grandchildren and include all the mostly black and white photos from that age so they have some understanding of who I was. I know the photos are meaningless without the story behind them. I need to get on with it though or they will all be grown up themselves!

  15. LB says:

    Lynn, you have clearly struck a chord with this post. In addition to “who will sift through the photos”, I wonder who will tell the story?
    One of the benefits of blogging is that some of your life, thoughts, memories will already be documented.
    So good to see your post today, Lynn.

    • Lynn says:

      Laurie, you are perceptive in your reading for that is what struck me most in completing this task. The photos represent a life lived, filled with experiences & stories. In looking through the photos it struck me, as this person reaches the end of life, it is up to those of us still living to share their story.

      Cheers my friend!

  16. I’ve often thought it a bit sad that with the advent of digital photography there will never be those not quite perfect photos that sometimes told a story. The kid who always blinked at the wrong moment, the rabbit ears you didn’t notice your brother was pulling behind your head, the strange person who wandered into the background. And if all those photos are now stored on digital devices, will anyone go through them when it’s easiest to just put the hard drive in a cupboard and forget about it? (Assuming it can even be accessed with the change in technology.)

    • Lynn says:

      I am chuckling to myself reading your comment as I suspect you have a number of these gems tucked away in your photos!

      I often wonder the same about our digital photos. Will anyone ever bother to look at them in the way we pull out old photo albums to flip through them? I still have some of my grandparents albums in the old format of the pictures inserted into those little black corner pieces. I treasure them!

  17. Peta Kaplan says:

    Yes. This s the task ahead of me…a huge chest of old photographs and assorted slbums to wade through taking me back down memory land into nostalgia.

    The hardest ons to throw out are the pictures of my kids growing up…although I have wayyyy too many. Its still a challenge. You captured it well.

    Thank goodness for digital…at least my albums now are just floating on a cloud that takes no closet space haha.


    • Lynn says:

      It seems we are in good company Peta! As much as I love digital, I have to say, there is something wonderful about sitting down & flipping through a photo album. I often find myself pulling one out to have a look. I wonder if future generations will ever look at their photos?

      Thanks for your visit today!

  18. boristoronto says:

    There is something that has been lost in the digital age. The tactile experience of flipping through pages and touching the images. I’ve had a similar experience lately looking through old albums, which has inspired me to get some images printed (haven’t developed photos in a decade at least) and start a new album.

    • Lynn says:

      Boris, I so agree. I too, am a tactile person. I feel that way about reading books. I know there is a certain convenience in loading books onto a kobo but I still like to read an actual book. Thank your for your visit today, much appreciated!

  19. Ahdad says:

    It’s the one thing Wife hates about digital photos. Instead of being in an album most of them are stuck on someone’s hard drive…

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