We Don’t Know the Future (Day 3 of 31)
Because we don’t know the future, it’s important to document the present. Whenever you take a photo, you aren’t just capturing whatever it is you’ve focused on. You’re also catching what’s on the periphery of the frame, and all the other incidental stuff you’re not paying much attention to. (Remember all those examples, in the early days of Facebook, of people tracking down strangers who appeared in the edges of their vacation shots?)
The treehouse shown in this photo doesn’t exist anymore, except in photos and in my family’s memories. At the time my kids were playing in it, we never thought of the treehouse as a structure belonging to their childhood that we would someday tear down. But, of course, nearly everything that has a feeling of permanence in our lives proves over the years to have been temporary. The house you live in, even, is probably not where you’ll end your days.
As well as freezing time when it comes to capturing the way our loved ones look now, photography also captures the particular details, at this moment in time, of the places we love. Every construction crane and dump truck is a reminder that cities are constantly changing. When I take photos that show me later what a place looked like at some long-ago moment, it makes me so happy. Inevitably I say to myself, “Oh, yeah. . . I’d forgotten it used to look like that.” For me, this has been particularly evident in photos that I took in Toronto in the 1980s. Many businesses and buildings in the photos are simply not there anymore. New ones have taken their places.
When you take a photo, you’re documenting your world.
(For the month of October 2017, I’m participating in the 31 Days bloggers’ challenge. You can find out about it here, and check out the interesting work other bloggers are posting.)