I never met my mother’s parents. They both passed before I was born, but from the stories my mother has told me about them, I can imagine their personalities, I think, pretty accurately. And thanks to photography, I can put a face to those mannerisms as well.
My grandma and grandpa were married in 1957 and their discoloured album sits in an old washstand at the top of the stairs in the home I grew up in. You have to remove the cabinet handle and poke your finger through the hole it leaves behind in order to open the door, because the thing is so old that the glue no longer holds anything together. The album features a very small selection of large black and white prints slid into plastic sheets. Some photos are in portrait orientation and others in landscape, so as you move through the album you have to turn the book in order to get a good look at the wedding party. The first photo is of my grandmother’s brother helping her out of the car at the church–a photo which, to this day, is popular with my clients.
I can’t imagine how my impression of my grandparents would have been different if they had used Myspace to save their wedding photos. If they had just posted their photos online and never gotten them printed there is a good chance I would have never seen them. In a world where baby photos are saved to Instagram and wedding albums are an album on Facebook, I am lucky that my grandparents wedding album (and an outrageous number of scrapbooks and VHS tapes) were passed down to my mother.