It’s times like this when I’m glad I’m shooting film again. I spent parts of three days in my hometown of New Martinsville, WV in June to attend my grandmother’s funeral. The family was asked to find pictures. There was something special about many of us sitting around, sorting through old photos. It was easy to involve the kids. Everyone could see and hold the photos quickly; many people could be looking through the photos simultaneously. That couldn’t have happened if everything was digital and on computers.
For my personal photos, I found the pictures – the actual prints- much faster than I found any digital files. I’ve always arranged files by date, but I think now I’ll have to come up with a way to use tagging to search for certain people or topics. Or just keep shooting film and having prints made. Actually, why reinvent the wheel? I’ll just replicate my wife’s organization of our prints for the digital files! 🙂
My grandmother, Vernice Lou Potts, was 81 when she was finally called home. As the matriarch of the family that had mostly female grandchildren, she was very influential. But the most touching moment was when “A.”, the father of my cousin’s oldest child, got up to say a few words. He’s black, and as I grew up, we were a white family in a virtually all white small town. He had worked with his daughter to paint a poster-sized picture. It was very colorful, and included two suns. The basic theme of his brief words was that “Nan” was one of the most generous and loving people he had ever met. She would give anything to anyone, and loved him just as she did any of her grandchildren from the day they met until her last days. And the reason for the two suns? Well, she just put that much light into their world. It was one of the best messages on Christian Love I’ve heard in a long time.
Nan was also preoccupied with people having enough food, so I thought it was appropriate to get shots of as many people eating at the meal following her funeral as possible. So in this gallery of photos, there’s a lot of less than flattering shots. But we have proof that there was enough food! I love how Portra handled the colors and skin tones – even indoors. And the shot above? Last shot on the roll, leaving town. I wouldn’t have shot it had I not recently been given the slides of my other grandfather’s funeral that happened almost 50 years ago. I never met him. But while this shot above isn’t perfect, it will be a catalyst for great memories. And that’s what pictures are about, right? Capturing memories, and sharing the past with the future.
We love you and miss you Nan.