The beauty of storytelling through photo albums


When I was younger, I loved it when I visited people’s homes, and they whipped out their photo albums. This meant a couple of things to me, initially, it was a sign of intimacy – they had a desire to show me a part of their story, and secondly, I knew I was going to hear some pretty interesting stories.


I particularly recall visits to my grandmother’s and how she would light up as she retold a story about someone I had asked about in one of the images. Or even just seeing images of her as a young girl or my grandfather, who passed away long before I was born. It was as if she was digging into her mental archives and reliving that particular time period. The quality of your questions was also directly proportional to the stories you would get. It seems that without those photo albums some of these people would never naturally come into the conversation. It was as if the photos in the album were catalysts for storytelling. 

Since I was young, our family has always kept photo albums, but with the rise of smartphones and massive storage on our computers, people do not seem to print photos and put them in albums anymore. Inspite, of that, I find that our family still has the habit of sitting around and talking about the individual photo albums we have or taking them out when special guests come to visit. However, since the rise of the digital camera, I recently noticed we rarely print our pictures anymore. However, because of privacy and just the sheer number of images some of us have in our phones, we rarely even show people the pictures we have in our galleries.


So I made it a personal mission to ask my sisters to pick some pictures and let me go and have them printed for them. I love the stories, the evocation of emotions, the ability to be able to pass on elements of who we are to future generations.


Do you keep photo albums? If so, who do you share them with?

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