Many people assume that I majored in photography or art or business in college which would probably have made more sense considering what I have ended up doing. But, I actually majored in history (go Meredith Angels!) and have loved the subject from an early age.
I don't know that I ever got a change to USE my history degree much except that I can play a mean game of Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit but, as I get older, I appreciate the place that photography allows me to play in the history of my clients. I heard a speaker at the PPA Imaging conference in New Orleans who reminded all of us photographers that what we produce becomes the tangible history of a family. We probably have all heard about family events or long-dead relatives and the stories are wonderful, but it's when we're able to hold in our hands a photograph of that person or event that we can better appreciate and understand it.
I am blessed that Conway Photo has been around as long as it has and that my father was a pretty careful keeper of records when he started the business. I have a bulging warehouse with over 50 years of carefully filed negatives and I am now adding to that stacks of back-up disk drives with digital images. When I have free time, it's a pleasure to look through some of these files and delight at the treasures there. And, it's really a pleasure that I can now scan a negative, bring it into Photoshop and many times produce an even better photograph from these files than were originally printed. Through the years we've replaced wedding albums and treasured family photos that were lost in fires and floods and connected people with photos that they didn't know even existed.
Others that appreciate history call in all the time with their requests and it's a great feeling when we can help. I'm called many times during the year for copies of the peanut harvest photos my father made in 1947. So many people who grew up in this area have an appreciation for our agricultural history and it's wonderful that my father had the foresight to create this series of photos.
When my mother died this past year, it was the nicest discovery I could make to find this vacation photo of her and my brother at the Wright Memorial. Though there is no one who can verify it now, I can tell by my brother's age that this must have been the famous trip my parents made to the Outer Banks when my father returned home from Japan after WWII.
Every year I'm asked to work on projects for gifts. This past year I pulled negatives from a 1955 wedding my father photographed to replace the original wedding album which has been lost. I know that was a special package under the Christmas tree.
And, I've already written earlier on Facebook about the special gift that Melissa Meyer asked me to create for her parent's Christmas gift using the negatives from her wedding in 2003 and her parent's wedding in 1976 along with the digital files of her brother's wedding in 2011. The final composite shows four generations of her family and I was as excited to work on it as, hopefully, Debbie and George were to receive it.
You'll excuse me a minute today for reflecting on all this. I have had Melissa and Kevin Meyer much on my mind this weekend, and I know I am joining all of her family and friends in prayers for Hinton's recovery.