Dec 08, 2021

Conversations with photographs: The technique providing a source of joy and fulfilment

Woman looking at photo album

When looking at a particular photograph or several taken at the same time we can transport ourselves back to that moment and talk to the people in the picture about our feelings on that day.

It’s amazing how our brains can recall and reflect how we were feeling at that given moment and the emotions we felt either happy or sad. Even the events that may have led up to that picture being taken and what happened beyond that day.

By sharing the emotions felt within the photograph we can imagine ourselves being taken back and re-creating the instance we smiled for the camera and said, “Cheese”.

I have shared many moments with clients, mainly pictures of them in their youth and regularly a wedding photograph or a newborn baby. So many experiences come flooding back ranging from how nervous they were about getting married so young, were they doing the right thing to the parents not approving, often smiling, and saying well I proved them wrong by being married for 50 years to the same person.

Then there are the baby pictures that stimulate memories flooding back about how long the labour was to how they didn’t forget the pain. Often stating the fact that there was no pain relief back then; often reflecting that it was a “Labour of love”.

Then there was and the joy and overwhelming sense of love and relief experienced with the resulting baby. There are moments when a baby did not survive and then the memory becomes overshadowed by the desperate agony and pain of the loss.

When we look at pictures of parents, or grandparents, so many sensations are aroused, and the relationship we held with that person.

I often ask what you would say to that person if they were here now and what advice would you give them. That is when a can of worms is opened, with a copious amount of wisdom streaming out about how and what they would do if they knew then what they know now.

One occasion I do recall is of a lady who had been married to her beloved husband since she was 17 years old and celebrated 60 golden years together before he passed. She told me with a smile on her face and a glint in her eye that she would not change a thing and would marry the same man all over again.

Another lady told me of how she married straight after the war and that her wedding dress was made of the finest silk (the remains of a Royal Air Force parachute). That lady was my mother who was happily married to my father for 35 years before he passed.

Then there are photographs of Christmas past, when nanna was napping in the chair after too much sherry trifle, or the excitement found on the faces of children as they open the gifts from Santa.

By going back in time, we can imagine the emotions we felt, especially when closing our eyes and are taken back to replace the person in the picture with ourselves and talk about the day and the moment.

Photographs can be a comforting source of joy and fulfilment when the memory is shared with someone who cares. We can never recapture the moment passed but we can certainly revisit it any time we wish and dream away the moment on life’s constant journey.

Our brains are a powerhouse of activity, a library full of books with so many memories, just waiting to be opened. Some books are more enjoyable than others and some pages turn too quickly, but as the chapters move forward so do our hope and dreams.

Life is just a glimmer and it is gone, but whilst we are here, we can cherish the life we have with and reminisce as much as we wish.

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