After plenty of good cooking and eating, visiting and present unwrapping, we should all hopefully have made some great holiday memories. My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the day after Christmas and so our family gathered in a beautifully decorated old Victorian house in Jackson, Tennessee, to have a complete family portrait done by the artistic Roger Markin of The Family Album, a private studio I highly recommend to anyone in the area. While we were there the individual families took the opportunity to have their portraits done also. In this high-tech age, we were able to see the photos immediately afterwards on a large screen and as a group chose the best of the lots. We were all quite pleased with the results, a feat considering there were eleven in the big family photo and we had to threaten a few unwilling children.
The next evening, my mother-in-law brought out boxes of old photos so I could search for ones to show at the anniversary party to be held in a few weeks. Oh, how fun to see all the old school pictures, delight at the lively-looking young girl my mother-in-law used to be and how handsome my father-in-law was as a boy. I saw relatives I’d never met but had heard of, and we laughed at how relatives we knew had changed over the years. My little daughter was amazed that her daddy had red-hair as a boy, we remarked how my teen looked a lot like her aunt, and we pointed out how every woman had a perm in the 1980’s.
In this coming new year as families gather for birthdays, reunions and other special days, think of opportunities to make those family portraits, to take pictures, to document moments. I had never thought of having a large group photo done and am very glad to have participated in that. Looking at those antique photos at my in-laws’ dining table made me appreciate all the more the importance of photography to capture the thousand words, so to speak, it would take to describe a person in a moment in an era. The joy of looking back at family photos is priceless.