In my office hangs a photo taken by my grandfather of the Aspen in Colorado. I love having the picture hang there – it connects me with my family and my home state but it also connects me with the one who passed along a love of photography (although it didn’t bloom until a bit later in life). My grandfather was a prolific photographer – after he passed away my parents found hundreds if not thousands of pictures in boxes in the basement. He had his own dark room as well. My dad has commented several times wondering how many pictures Grandpa would have taken if digital photography was around in his time. As one who has over 10,000 pictures tagged, named, and easily searchable in Lightroom, I can understand…But back to the story. This picture today is something my wife found in one of our closets earlier this week. It was the notation (early metadata) about the photo hanging in my office, when it was taken, where, and the camera settings used. All of this today is just automatically recorded with the image file in a camera. But in 1986, he had to make this note himself (and likely for many other of his photographs). I was so excited to find this because when we had the photo reframed I thought this notation had been lost. Suffice to say it is going with me to my office the next time and will be affixed to the back of the frame. (Side note – I googled the Canon T-90 and found that it was introduced in 1986…I wonder if Grandpa went up on an Aspen photo tour to try out his new toy…)
Its funny how things come together in wonderful timing. Just this morning, I was reading in Numbers 33 where the writers detail the stages in the Hebrews’ journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Today, the journey would have been tracked by pictures taken, GPS data, and so forth. But then, it had to be remembered, spoken through oral tradition, and eventually written down. There’s a tangibleness to the story from Numbers 33 today just as there is a tangibleness to this notation found. When I hold it, I know that it was written by my Grandpa’s own hand using his old Canon film SLR camera (and clearly the Canon gene was passed down as that is my camera of choice) and it will be forever treasured.
I am so grateful to have found it today and to be able to pass this down to my children who never had the opportunity to know their great-grandfather. But his legacy of photography and seeing the world through that way has been passed along to me (and I think its getting passed along to my daughter from what I have been seeing…)