When I was 12, my grandmother gave me an exquisite antique photo album. Its soft velvet cover had faded to pale pink, and it rested on a stand with a small drawer that held exciting treasures from my grandparents’ youthful adventures. The album showcased some of the most amazing photographs I had ever seen. Until that point, I had only heard stories of my grandmother as a girl. The gift from my grandmother gave me a portrait of her at 7 with her younger brother and sister, and brought her stories to life. Through photos of great-grandparents, great uncles and great aunts, I could add faces to their hijinks!
In one of our family’s many military transfers, the album got wet and molded beyond repair. Fortunately, I had removed most of my favorite photos before that happened and had begun adding to that collection as distant relatives cleaned attics and basements. I became our family’s photo archivist through my love of a photographed memory.
When I left home, my mother gave me a cedar box, a small version of a hope chest that a local furniture store in our hometown of Shreveport, La., gave to graduating seniors. In it, she had photos of my first six months of life, along with newspaper clippings of my birth and a tiny hospital bracelet. My favorite photograph is of her, a day or two after my birth, beautifully coiffed with a pillow corsage next to her. I cherish that portrait and the box mom gave me even more now that she is gone.
I’ve named my photo studio after that cedar box full of memories that my mom impressed upon my heart. Photographs have the ability to bring back the past and the memories that go with them. And now I want to help you capture your memories.