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  • Writer's pictureNora Walsh Kerr

Honoring Our Memory Keepers

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Do you ever look at a picture and think, who took that photo? As a personal historian myself, I'm naturally drawn to the people holding the camera, capturing ordinary moments just like this one above. Most people see a man sitting on a stoop. I notice the reflection behind him in the sliding glass door. This shot is from the 80s, so the photographer won't see the results until the entire film roll is done and processed at the photo lab, which could take months or even years, depending on the family! He had no idea if this picture would come out. It was all just a lot more effort back then, and that should be appreciated.

As the unofficial photographer for our family, I appreciate the instantaneous payoff of digital photography. But my love for pictures goes way back to the dark(room) ages. I discovered a manual camera in high school, developing film with developers and fixer. Some photos came out great, but most of them didn't, and that was part of the thrill. I can still smell the chemicals! Decades later, I can't help but have a soft spot for all the photo-takers in our lives, capturing moments in time for their families.

Who is or was the memory keeper in your family? Was it slide film and did they arrange a monthly family get together with a projector and screen in your living room? Or was it print film and did they promptly develop and label them? Are these people still around? I challenge you to pull out some old photos or slides and ask questions. Not just about the people in the images, but about why they captured those moments and about the stories behind the scenes.

I dedicate this post to everyone behind the camera lens, our past and current memory keepers. Without them, our stories would be a lot less colorful!


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