I used to be an avid photographer. I took classes. I traveled with my SLR and worked in a darkroom. Over the years, as photography became easier with digital cameras, I slowly dropped the habit from taking “serious” photos to catching snapshots…to…sadly…group selfies.

Recently I bought a new DSLR, which I’ve only managed to get out of the box and into its travel case. My hope had been to do a deep dive with it over the holidays. But I never pulled it out. In any case, it’s one of my “skills” that I hope to learn this year: not only how to operate the camera technically, but also to re-capture moments of my life.

I spent most of yesterday going through very old photos of the family and scanning them so I could share them with my cousins. I want to make sure my generation of first-Americans can access their family’s pictorial history. After my mom died and I was packing up photos, I realized that I gravitated to two types — the kinds that documented familiar places in time, and those of people. My mom took a lot of photos of places she traveled, but what I really cared about were the photos of her in those places. I also loved pictures of our home and garden, of our previous cars and our neighborhood. I could see how things evolved, and certain details in those photos evoked great memories.

As I consider my photography moving forward, I’m realizing that I don’t need to take a photo of another icicle hanging from a tree branch, or of another sunset at the beach. You can download those ad nauseum, often by far better photographers than I am. What I need to focus my lens on is my own life and that of the lives around me. Those are the photos that will interest people. At least I hope.


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