How many faded snapshots have you seen in attics or antique stores that have completely lost their names, their places, and their stories?
So many special stories are gone because memories fade and people pass through our lives. As you can see here, many of our treasured pictures deteriorate over time. This one is of my father and my grandfather and it is one of very few pictures I have of my grandfather. Even our 'modern', digital pictures get lost in the cloud or on numerous hard drives, thumb drives, memory cards, or phones. I find that it is worth the time to find and preserve the most special pictures in one place and ensure they will collectively represent what's important to me forever. But something is still missing...the story...and preferably the story in the original voice.
Yes, I can make a digital copy of what is left of the picture of my father and his dad and it will be saved forever, but what I don't have is the story it tells. Fortunately, my father is 81 years young and I was able to ask him. I decided to record him telling the story in my StoryWings library and saved it with the picture. Now our family can always hear him telling us how his father was congratulating him and why. Apparently, he was the neighborhood hero for one day. The local paper wrote about how he ran away from a rabid fox while delivering newspapers. (It's is much more interesting, and funny, to hear him tell it....literally.) Now, doesn't that give the old picture so much more value?
I took some lovely pictures in Venice, Italy. They are not as beautiful as the tourism pictures you see everywhere but they are very pretty. What makes my pictures special is that I took them in person while on a trip with my husband and our friends. There is SO much more to each picture than the image. Unless I share the stories behind them, and unless those are shared again, the real meaning of the pictures will be lost. (I may be the only one who cares but I surely have some stories and pictures my children and their children will appreciate over time.) Should we add all of our pictures to StoryWings? Probably not...just the ones that best represent the best stories.
Pictures bring to mind stories. Voices tell them. Capturing them together is a treasure beyond words.
TRY THIS: Put a date in your calendar each month when you will select a few pictures that are special to you and record or tell the stories about them to be treasured forever. Consider doing it with a friend, child, or other family member. Pour a cup of tea or have a glass of wine and have fun!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Teri Spina is the the Founder of StoryWings (www.StoryWings.net). Her organization promotes storytelling and their technology provides a way to record, share, and archive stories of all types.