My interest in photography started when I was a child. But not in the way it started with some kids who were given a camera at a young age and encouraged to shoot. I loved looking at the old photographs my grandmother and mother had accumulated, hearing them tell about their lives, and about the relatives and ancestors in the photographs. Photographs taken in the 1930s seemed sincerely aged to me, and the ones from the late 1800s positively ancient.
My mom was the family photographer. Gram (Mom's mother) was the family historian and storyteller. My love of photography and personal histories comes from them. Both of them told me so much about my great-grandmother (Grandma Brown) that I felt like I knew her!
I loved it when Mom brought out her albums she'd made as a teenager and young adult. When I was around 9 years old, she showed me how to add to her current photo album: choose the best photographs, put them in chronological order, plan the placement on the page, wet the little black photo corners, place carefully, and use white ink to write a funny caption and the date. I loved it! I studied the photographs as she shared her memories with me and I had more questions about the ancestors than there were answers.
Most of my gram's storytelling revolved around events and memories of her own childhood, or Bible stories. I wanted to hear both. As I got older and moved away from home, I'd talk with Gram about writing. She and I both were great letter writers. Some weeks I'd get 2 or 3 letters from her! My sister and I wanted her to write her autobiography, including all the stories we loved, and maybe some new ones. Eventually, we pestered Gram often enough that she started writing her story.
©BARBARA BOWARD PHOTOGRAPHY