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What does a photograph mean?
February 16, 2013

What does a photograph mean?

Happy Days

I barely remember that moment, in the strict sense of the word, but as I pore over this picture, (rediscovered recently on an old hard drive of my father’s) I see so much. I see it with my whole heart and soul. The lines are blurred between feeling it and seeing it. I see/feel my young self holding my breath as I look down through the viewfinder, the thrill of being allowed to hold such a precious object. Turning it this way and that, marvelling at the upside down and back to front-ness of this new world revealed through the lens. Feeling my father’s anxious gaze urging me to hold tight, ready to lunge forward at the first sign of clumsiness. My mother’s warm encouragement.

It won’t mean the same to you. You’ll maybe smile indulgently at the young Maryanne who inevitably became a photographer after this early adventure! Perhaps you’ll chuckle at my tomboy haircut, or wonder when it was taken- 1970- or where- Malawi.

A photograph is not simply ink on paper. It takes you right back to how you felt in that moment. It’s a direct line to your soul’s memory. That is the value of a photograph.

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