Photographs mean so much to me, it’s insane. I’ve had some of the most unique opportunities: to attend school in New England amongst the natural wonders that whatever higher power has put on this Earth for humans to gaze upon, spending months upon months throughout the summer hiking the backcountry of America, exploring the Appalachian Trail and taking time to admire the natural wonders of the world.
I’m just so grateful that I took an interest in taking photographs and at the age that I did. Of course, I can go back to Deerfield, Massachusetts and see all the things that I saw and do some of the things that I did, but having photographs just means the world to me. Looking back at the photos I took and moments I captured literally brings me back to the exact time and place I was. It’s the most surreal feeling I have ever felt. It almost feels like a time machine, or a movie replaying the exact events that occurred at the time that the photograph was taken. Even the tiniest things like going off school grounds to purchase contraband food from the local market are moments that will forever stick out in my memory. Looking at photographs of these events do far more than supplement the mental memories I have recorded.
If you’re reading what I’m writing right now, I’m begging you, even if your only camera is your cell phone, document life. I know for a fact there are people in your life that impact you, sights that you have seen that you believe will never leave your mind, or you hope not. I’m telling you now, a picture really does tell 1,000 (most of the time even more) words. In several days, months, years, or even decades to come, you will have provided yourself with a visual representation of life in the past. Although the mind is a very strong tool that has an immense capacity, old age and time tend to fade the memories and moments we experience. In the age of digital photographs, these memories can be easily captured and effortlessly preserved. There’s no need to wrap them in special plastic to preserve their quality, or put them away in a chest for safekeeping. A chip the size of your pinky finger (or smaller) can store documentation of your entire life. Let me not beat around the bush and get to saying: IT’S WORTH IT.
Regardless of when you think you will look back on the photographs you take, they will be of value at some point. Coming from my point of view, I began to take photographs because I admired the natural canvas that was New England’s landscape. Although I woke up every day to the same sunset over the same mountains and played sports on the same fields with the same views, I did not take that for granted for one second. I knew the time to move on would arrive, so I decided to capture beauty the way I saw it at that exact moment. Thankfully I didn’t limit myself to the pretty sunsets and vast mountain ranges. I photographed everyone that made a difference in my life, even if it was a shopkeeper whose shop I visited regularly, or a teacher that really got on my nerves. Sure, your eyes are constantly recording to your brain, but there is no picture as vivid as one you capture from your perspective of a moment. It will truly last forever. If you took the time to read this, thank you. If you don’t already capture your life and beautiful moments in it, I hope that I have pushed you to do so and realize how powerful things as simple as watching a shutter deploy are.