Ever since I was little, I have loved the art of photography. While the world and those who inhabited it changed and developed, the photograph conveyed a message from the past.
Behind the lens of a camera, I found that I could capture any instant of time. A time or place, perhaps even a person, frozen in time for me to gaze upon as everything changed around me.
When I was thirteen, I went to the home of my late grandfather with my family to collect anything we wished to keep before the house was destroyed to make room for a new, more updated home. His home was small and neat, alongside the marsh that outlines the coast of Maine. It had been built long ago and never faltered even as the houses surrounding it were. My grandfather's neighbors' houses were several stories high with inground pools and concrete while his home was surrounded by a decomposing fence with stones leading to the door.
It seemed to be from another time and I loved the look of it as well as the contrast it posed against the neighbors.
My grandfather was simply happy to have a beach across the street and a marsh that he could look upon from his favorite chair early in the morning. As I went through his old possessions, I found a collection of Polaroid photographs among his obscure collections. The pictures showed my grandfather long ago with his girlfriend. Photographs of his smile and his face, not yet covered in cracks of age, his brand new boat and his neighborhood at the time.
In each picture, I could see the happiness and the youth that struck him before I was even born. Immediately, I took the photographs into the front yard and sat down on the lawn. I lined the photographs up to the houses that currently resided there, comparing.
While I had always thought that my grandfather's house was the house that had changed, it turned out that he and his home were the only constant. The photographs were a constant reminder of his smile, his pride in his little boat, and an even smaller house. Even though he had so little, he was happy.
I left his house with a glass bottle, the Polaroid photographs, and memories and reminders of him and his smile to last me forever.
As I grew, I fell further in love with the power of photography. I would always remember the power my grandfather's photographs had over me without him ever even knowing that I would see them.
What amazed me about photography and still amazes me to this very day, is the ability to make someone feel something with only an image, a moment of time in the grand span of eternity.