Why Do You Take Photos?

My computer has been running really slowly lately. I know it's time to delete files that I don't need to make some room but it's such a daunting task. A lot of memory is used by photos. I have almost 50,000 photos in my library. No kidding. There are absolutely hundreds, if not thousands, that can be deleted in an instant, and there are undoubtedly accidental duplicates that can be deleted too. But sifting through the entire collection to find them? Ugh. Despite the uphill battle that this presents, I've started the process and it has taken me on a delightful memory voyage. 

In the summer of 2007, my oldest child was 1. We took a family vacation that summer to Cape Cod and we returned to find our computer had malfunctioned and all of my photos were gone. We sent it to some expert but the files were lost forever. They included my wedding, my honeymoon, photos of my daughter's first year, and everything else that had preceded those life changing events. Heartbreak doesn't come close to describing how this felt. I was able to get many (low resolution) photos back because I had uploaded them to a gallery site to share with family. It wasn't everything, but I felt fortunate nonetheless. 

Often I am asked why I take so many photos. I've read plenty of articles about how taking photos prevents you from living in the moment. I wholeheartedly disagree. I take photos to make the moments last longer. Looking back at old photos that I've taken immediately transports me into the moment that I wanted to capture. In an instant, I can remember how my daughter screamed with delight after picking these "lello flowahs" and presented me with the bouquet. I remember how carefully I tried to shield my son's chicken leg from the sand that blew in the wind on the beach that day. These are the tiny, real-life moments of parenthood that I savor. I felt them deeply when I took the photos and I'm so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live them again when I look at the photos. 

I take photos because doing so provides me with a soul-hugging sense of joy. I plan to continue doing it, at the same pace - and hope that our backup system protects them sufficiently. It helps me see how far we've come as a family and as individuals and it helps me make sense of the things that are constant in my children and our lives and the things that have changed over time. So I'll be buried in iPhoto for a while...