As one does during dull January, I was scrolling through Facebook, something I rarely do anymore.
And one of those “memories” from the past popped up. It was a snap taken around this time seven years ago.
Deirbhile and Patrick with their arms around each other smiling happily dressed colourfully on a dreary Saturday morning outside Newgrange.
It brought a tear to my eye. But not for the reason you might think. A picture paints a thousand words. To anybody else it oozes happiness and innocence, which it does.
And here was their sad daddy trying to keep things normal taking them off to Newgrange for the day
But it was taken around the time when their parents had just separated. And here was their sad daddy trying to keep things normal taking them off to Newgrange for the day. The power of one photograph to tell a story, to trigger emotion can be overwhelming.
Everybody has a camera now in their pocket complete with shutter, flash, filter and dark room all in one
Seven years on and everybody is happy, healthy, friends and getting on with life’s challenges.
Those smiling baby faces will be going on 15 and 19 in a few weeks time. Everybody has a camera now in their pocket complete with shutter, flash, filter and dark room all in one.
Imagine explaining to a millennial there was a time you waited days for your local pharmacist to develop your holiday snaps.
How many of us bother now to develop photos for posterity? Instead, they’re hidden away on our social media pages unless they pop up at you as a memory next time you are scrolling. I’m old-school. I could spend hours perusing tattered sun-damaged photo albums. It’s just not the same on the phone or laptop.
I could narrate the story of my childhood by turning each page
My mother has boxes full of photos which she now and again empties onto the dining room table and attempts to chronicle. There are albums going back over a half a century and I’d slowly sift through each picture wondering at the story behind it. A themed album is like reading the same storybook but with different words each time it’s opened.
Mam stitched together an album for me when I was 18. The first picture is of my christening and the last one is me in my school uniform in sixth year. I could narrate the story of my childhood by turning each page. And it is only as we get older, we realise the value of these snapshots of time, unique to each one of us.
When I go out recording, and farmers who have had me on their farm will chuckle at this, I could go wandering around the field or the farmyard in search of distinctive sounds to enhance the spoken word. It is all about creating an image in the mind of the listener. Imagery is vital in enhancing the audio story.
When the photo from Newgrange whacked my senses last week, what struck me as I stared at it for several moments reminiscing was firstly how resilient my children looked
Similarly, there is a story behind every precious personal still image which we take for granted now as we all have a gazillion photos hidden on our phones. Abundance suffocates appreciation.
When the photo from Newgrange whacked my senses last week, what struck me as I stared at it for several moments reminiscing was firstly how resilient my children looked in what surely was not a nice time.
Secondly, how impactful emotionally one simple photo can be so many years on.
And thirdly, by where it was taken, a reminder to me personally back then and each one of us in these tough times we are enduring, that even the darkest tunnel can be pierced by hopeful light.
It’s great to see the vaccine has arrived and all that. But it’s time now that news bulletins stopped broadcasting close ups of people receiving the jab every time “vaccine” is mentioned. It’s reminding me of the staggering cow clip which accompanied every BSE story for years after the 1998 crises.