Friday, June 15, 2007

Remembering Our Fathers

Edward (Ned) Bernerd Mercer, Jr

Alfred (Bill) Williams

Ned's Dad and mine. Probably made around 1933. They were handsome young men.

Looking at these pictures brings back many memories of these two men....far beyond the event that was photographed. In fact, neither of us was born when these images were made and yet because we have seen these images all our lives they are part of our collective family history. Steve Edwards in his book Photography, a very short introduction writes:

Photographs provoke acts of memory recalling us to things, places, and people. They establish connections across time and space, inducing chains of association. What will be dredged up in memory's driftnet cannot be predicted in advance; an item of clothing or decor in a picture can spark connections and associations. This may be why discussions of family photographs rarely dwell on the images themselves.

2 comments:

Working Gringa said...

It is so true. My grandparents used to have a portrait-sized foto of each of their 13 grandchildren above their two twin beds. My cousins and I spent our childhoods going into that bedroom and memorizing the fotos, comparing fotos and feeling the depth of love evidenced by the existence of those fotos in their most intimate space. That collection of photographs is etched in my mind and brings up incredibly warm feelings.

Larry Lehmer said...

Family photographs are probably the ultimate "memory trigger" for people seeking to record their own family's history. As a personal biographer, I use photos extensively in my projects. Thanks for sharing yours.