Passing the Torch
In the age of digital technology, there is something deeply moving about holding an old photograph. I’m helping my 92-year old father cull his collection which spans more than 100 years – family photos passed on to him, his own photographs, 8mm film and 35mm and 2 1/4 colour transparencies . At first, he a bit reluctant about a culling process, but gradually warmed to the idea of a joint project. I am struck by the goldmine of visual history unfolding before my eyes – a photograph of my grandfather in his blacksmith shop, shoeing a horse; a later photo in his auto garage once cars had replaced the horse and buggy. Formal photos of great aunts and great uncles posing in photo studios in the Ottawa Valley – all dressed up and proud. Flash forward to to war-time photos of young men and women in uniforms drinking in English pubs, colour images from the 50s of family life. Poses now easy and relaxed, the occasions more informal. The challenge of deciding what to keep and what to throw out is daunting. There are literally thousands of images to view. But I am enjoying every second of crouching over a light table with my lupe and opening box after box of photographs. Slowly, I am being entrusted with the family’s visual history. What a huge responsibility and an honour.