Inspirational Passage of the Day
Another main part of viewing family photos is deriving familial relationships from them. In an age where families are more fragmented than ever, the images and compulsive smiles being produced reminds us of the true “solidity and cohesion” (Holland 1) of familial bonds. When a viewer who is not a twin sees this photo, they probably wonder what it would be like to be a twin. However, for a viewer that is a twin, this wondering is near impossible due to the experiences. I particularly, am fascinated by the fact that two different people can look at the same image and come to such different trains of thought. Thinking about being a twin reminds me of my twin brother, and all the unique memories that we have had. Consequently, I feel slightly sad that after spending mostly every day of my whole life with him before college, we are now split. It’s amazing how nostalgic a mere image can make an individual. This photograph also makes me think of my father. Even though I am not exactly sure if the picture was taken in one of my father’s offices, I am certain that my father was the photographer. My father thoroughly enjoys taking pictures, almost to the point of annoyance in inconvenient situations. However, this photo reminds me of my father, who I also miss greatly due to my absence from home in college. This photo is a prime example of how photographs can rekindle certain emotions and completely revamp the thoughts of the viewer. Despite the expected happiness that I would derive from reminiscing about my family members, this photo does also hold a darker side. It is common for many photos to “rigorously exclude” (5) certain significant moments. If this picture was taken at my dad’s old office, then it would remind me of the day when he came home devastated over being fired. Reminiscing over his despondence at the time and the shockwave it sent through my immediate family, this photo brings out the innermost buried sentiments of resentment and dismay. Despite the many positive aspects and memories within view of this photograph, slightly gloomier elements are concealed as well causing a complex wave of emotions.
In addition to their connection to family ties, photographs also act in two ways on memories. In some instances, memories become more falsified and fantastical (14) as a result of looking at pictures and trying to remember the exact details of the situation portrayed solely by observing the contents of the photograph. But then again, this raises the pertinent question, do we even really possess the memories of the events that we experienced. Along with pictures, there are many factors capable of altering the reality of our memories to the point that they barely resemble the truth. Personally, I believe it is ironic that photographs may contribute to the alteration of honest memories because many people usually associate photographical evidence as a testament to the truth. However, many memories are kept in subconscious storage and when they are eventually unveiled during a period of recollection, they are slightly reinvented in order to fit the sentiments of the reflection period. The questioning of our own memories following the astute observation of photographs raises the question, how can our history be accurate because its true stories have been continuously recanted. (13) If we interpret historical photos and we have no other basis on how to judge and decide what was going on in the situation besides word of mouth, how are we supposed to ensure the historical accuracy of our supposed educational materials. At the end of the day, memories are but moldable blocks of clay, forever changing and although you may reach a point in alteration that may resemble the original memory, it will rarely be exactly the same (exactly accurate).
Although the family photograph I submitted reminds me of easy times, family and years of innocent youth, it also makes me question if what I think of when I see the photo is truly accurate. Ironically enough, photos have the unique capability to reflect happiness and honestly but truly stand for sadness and inaccuracy. No one person can tell another what is being truly represented within the photograph due to the inherent objectivity of the viewer. Any other practice or imposition of views would result in the tarnishing of the viewer’s personal deduction of the pictures relevance/meaning. Although photographs [especially family photos] have the ability to speak a thousand words, we may never know which of these words are mere lies.