I have a wallet-sized photograph from my childhood that I love. It’s a black and white picture of me with my neighborhood friends, taken on the grass in our neighborhood park. I am 10. Beside me is my older brother, as well as the photographer’s two boys and a few other neighborhood kids. There are 8 of us in total – a mix of mostly boys and two of us girls.
We’re all standing with our arms dangling around each other’s shoulders. Our hair is messy. We are all grinning, except one boy who is stoically looking into the camera, arms crossed, trying hard not to smile. The youngest boy has his shirt off, and he’s goofily flexing his muscles like only a seven year old could.
I love this picture.
When I look at it, it brings me right back to that day, and to that grassy park where I spent so much of my time. It was a summer filled with rope swings over the local creek, countless hours jumping on my neighbor’s trampoline, and riding bikes aimlessly until the sun went down. We played hide-and-seek, using the entire neighborhood as fair game.
You can’t tell in this black and white photo, but I remember it was towards the end of that summer, just before school started up again. Still hot, but not sweltering and the leaves on the trees were beginning to turn bright yellow.
I love this picture. To someone else, it would mean nothing. We aren’t dressed very nice, we all look disheveled. But to me, it reminds me of one of the best childhood summers I ever had. And it’s the first photo that made me fall in love with the magic of photography.
I believe that everyone should have a photograph that takes them back in time and sparks joy whenever they look at it.
To me, that is the beauty of photography. It’s the magic that a single photograph can have. This is why we do what we do.