• Emily Furman

What are your memories worth?

When I worked at a nursing home facility I loved when residents would share their albums and photos with me. The stories they had to share were amazing, beautiful, and sometimes sad. You could almost feel yourself being taken back into time, seeing them in that moment, feeling the deep sense of loss when they mentioned a child that died too soon, or the joy they shared in how they made their own wedding dress. Do you know what power a photo has? 

Have you ever been with someone who had dementia? It's hard. They have good days and bad...and the more the disease progresses the more bad days they have. Most often family quits visiting because that person is no longer who they remember, nor do they remember who the person visiting them is. You would have to settle them, keep their mind occupied in new ways, and hope that by the time you left they were okay...at least for the night. Sitting with one lady over a hot cup of coffee, and listing to her talk with such affection about her son. Pictures. They have power. They can take people back to that moment. Her eyes no longer able to see the pictures, but when you described the scene she came back to it. She knew what happened in that image. She knew. She settled. How? She couldn't see it? No, She couldn't see it then, but how many times did she stop to look at that picture? How many times did she have her son on her lap and explained that picture to him? She knew what it was, because she relived it each time she saw it.

There is a book titled "Phototherapy in Mental Health"  by David A. Krauss and Jerry L. Fryrear.  Within the pages of it, David Krauss, a licensed psychologist, says “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.” 

How important is a printed photo?

That will depend on the person. For an elderly person it may be one of the last possessions they take with them to a nursing home. To an adopted child or To your own children it lets them know that this is their home, they are treasured and loved within these walls, that they belong. 

“It lets children learn who they are and where they fit,” says Judy Weiser. a psychologist, art therapist and author based in Vancouver. “They learn their genealogy and then the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.”

For more on this, check out this link: https://designaglow.com/blogs/design-aglow/17493452-how-family-portraits-boost-your-child-s-self-esteem

Hiring a photographer has the ability to preserve those memories. Having those portraits hanging on the walls of your home has the ability to reaffirm to your children love, belonging, and knowing that they and your family are important. 

I often have to push myself to take selfies with the kids (I much prefer being behind the camera), because I know that I may not be there one day. I want them to have those memories, and I want to have those memories. I want to be able to see us on our walls, and be taken back to those moments. I want them to have those moments too. I want them to see how much their daddy and I love them. I want more than iPhone photos, I want to be in them. 

So what is it worth to me? It's worth investing in. Its worth saving for. I have several photographers on my list that I would like to invest in. Each one has a different style, each one able to capture something unique about my family. I will invest in our family's memories, maybe not for each season, holiday, or even yearly (although yearly is my goal), but as I am able to save for it. Because its worth it to me.

Its worth it to me. Your memories are worth it. 

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