A Basket Full of Photos and Instagram

photos-ted-strutz

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

“It’s hard to imagine that I may be reduced to a basket of photos.”

Ted stopped sorting books and looked at his sister, Bella.

“What photos? When we’re gone, our Instagram accounts will be deleted and that’s it. Poof!”

Bella picked up an ancient photo of a young woman, full of life and vigor.

What had those eyes seen? The photos meant nothing and didn’t tell.

They were Great-aunt Clara’s closest living relatives.

They’d each take some books and a few photos, then Clara would be gone.

Bella didn’t know her. Now she never would.

The tears were unlooked for.

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Ted Strutz.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

68 thoughts on “A Basket Full of Photos and Instagram

  1. CarolCooks2

    A sobering thought…I too have one of those boxes however when we moved to Thailand I had a sort out and presented all my children with a box of memorabilia and photos pertinent to them I feel that is one small way of preserving memories for a little longer…Good post-Trent…Thank you for the follow :)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You always hope that those photographic memories will live on another generation or two. My parents have photos going back well over a century.
      When someone reblogs something, I always try to read it and found several reblogs from your blog in a matter of a couple of days, so :)

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. cynthiadumarin

    You touched a nerve there. I’ve looked at old family photos of people long gone who I never met. And now the generation before me is gone as well, so
    there’s no one to ask. But our legacy will be even more ephemeral. Everything is digital. How much gets lost with every upgrade of the technology?

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      There is something about those old photos… I can find info on most of the old photos from my family, but there are some blanks that may never be filled in. As to today, yes, it’s like a FB post, once we are gone, it seems we’ll just scroll of the page and out of mind… There have already been a lot of file formats that have been discontinued, though hopefully some of the big ones will stick around – I’m surprised gif is still here, though now people only use it for animation while in the 90s it was “the” image format.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. trishsplace

    I wonder/worry about the loss of photos. They are a tangible reminder and them existing in your computer or the cloud is not the same. To either yourself or the future.
    Historically we learn about ancestors through artefacts – tools, weapons, pottery, clothing, ruins and writing; art too.
    For a while longer at least, we’ll have the written word in books. But if there was a catastrophe that removed technology from the equation – which the best sci-fi writers predict (and they’ve been correct about a lot of things) – then we have no record of a lot of writing, and imagery. Photos. And your children and grandchildren aren’t going to root around in a computer checking out ‘old photos’. :)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Do you know how many “dead’ computer file formats there are? With MS updating Word every other year, when will the files created in 1992 be gone forever just because the technology has moved on? I created some cool videos in the early 90s which are gone forever. I spent weeks trying to find a program to open the individual image files, but came up with zero. gif is an old format and still used,but for how much longer? My guess is that even without a sci-fi catastrophe, everything created today will be lost unless someone cared enough to translate them to a new file format. And, nope, can’t see kids sitting around a computer looking at grandma’s and grandpa’s photos from the good old days….

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      My parents have collected some of the family stories, but they started relatively lat and are now the oldest in their respective families (Well,my dad isn’t but his remaining older sisters (in their 90s) are having a hard time helping him stretch his knowledge) but hopefully most of the old photos will have meaning for a long time to come. Thanks.

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  4. dalegreenearts

    This is so true. I feel like when I’m gone, there won’t be one thing left. I love the actual photos that I have collected and I don’t think anyone else will want them.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Most of the photos that I take are of things, places and animals. Some might be pretty good, but who wants a photo of an osprey when some professional can do a better job? Or Notre Dame if you weren’t there when I took it? So, yeah, nobody will want any of my photos. There will be very little left of me, either…

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  5. Brenda's Thoughts

    When I visit my parents, I look through the old photo albums almost every time. There is something special about the tangible photo you hold in your hand for some reason. Your story was a little jolting for me. In creating the digital world, we can more easily be “erased” with one or two steps and a push of a button. As a number of people already said, it’s best to live a life “well remembered.” Nicely written and thought provoking, Trent!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      There is something special about photos that can be held in your hand, isn’t there? I agree about the life “well remembered”. When you think about it, having tangible photos of departed loved ones was pretty much a 20th-century-only thing.

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  6. Dale

    This was beautifully written, Trent. It is amazing how emotional we can become looking at old photos – even for people we barely knew. Digital just does not bring on that nostalgia. And like you said, one flip of the switch and we can be erased.
    Best we work on making sure we are well-remembered whilst still in the flesh.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Dale. I don’t know why old photos are so nostalgic, but they are. And digital? Not really – I think it’s that tangible connection of the physical media. You are right, we need to create memories while we are here.

      Liked by 2 people

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  7. Inside the Mind of Isadora

    The story touches the points of where our society is going. Lack of dialog because of media leaves much unsaid. The lives of people in photographs after they’re gone are lost. Frankly, youth doesn’t want to know about the lives of older famil y members.
    Our own lives will only be important to the ones who are closest at the time we die.it’s such a different world. A very thought provoking tale, Trent.
    Isadora😎

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Isadora. With everyone’s short attention span and always looking for the next thing (to spend their money on, since the next thing is always a marketing ploy) and add to it the shallowness of communicating strictly through social media and thinking you are really staying in touch, yeah, real people and real relationships almost don’t exist outside of our small circle….

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. The image was full of nostalgia. Old photos mean something if we know the people in them, but once those memories are gone, there is just the knowledge that there once was a meaning there, but no more.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Things that have so much meaning to us may mean nothing to others. It is sad, we just have to try to make some type of positive impact on those around us so at least our memory will be around a little longer….

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yeah, eventually we will all be forgotten, even Mozart and Shakespeare if you go out far enough. Hopefully family memories will last a generation or two or three – my parents have photos of their family going back over 150 years. Will anyone have photos of me 10 years after I’m gone?

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  8. Na'ama Yehuda

    Sensitively written and on so true for so many. Thank you, Trent.
    One of my aunts had passed away this year after a long and well-lived life. She was well loved by many of us nieces and nephews and great-nieces and -nephews, and after her passing, everyone wanted something of hers to remember her by: a bowl, a picture, a painting, a memento. My sister brought me a scarf of hers. There are photos of hers I had never seen that her brother had shared after her death. Stories of hers I did not know. I miss my Aunt Nechama. I know many of us do. Yet I am comforted by how many people love and remember her and have been enriched by her life.
    Reading your story, I feel so sad for Clara. And for Bella, and the others who did not know her well enough, and now never would.
    This rang true.
    Na’ama

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks! There are those people like your aunt who leave many good memories with a lot of people. As you said, sad to see them go, but heartwarming that they touch so many lives. But there are too many people like Clara in this story who might be good people, but who had little impact or who’s impact has faded over time.

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think it is because people have a short attention span. Also there are so many photos since everyone takes hundreds (don’t have to spend money on film) and,well, it’s everyone taking hundreds. The other thing is that we often don’t realize how temporary digital is. Those of us whop have lost a couple of years worth of photos in a hard drive crash may have a better idea, but usually we don’t think about it. Thanks!

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  9. cordeliasmom2012

    Another pleasure lost to current generations. My mom had a huge cloth bag (like Santa’s sack) chocked full of photos, not only of us, but also photos of her and my dad as children and some of their relatives. I don’t know of anyone today who actually keeps printed photos.

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  10. Prior...

    I enjoyed this but must admit I had to go back and sleuth out a few parts –

    Like right after saying “they were” closest living relatives the next line said “they’d each take some…” and other pronouns and proper names had me go back and read a few times and then it was aligned (just wanted to mention that)
    Also –
    the word “ancient” did not sit right for the
    old pics – but maybe that is because I just read an author bio where he wrote about King Tut – so the black and whites seemed a little old but maybe not ancient -just my opinion
    top two takeaways
    1) the part about Instagram being deleted and poof – all can be gone
    Does make one wonder because we take so much stock in what is stored on someone else’s servers and could be gone in a snap
    2) you brought us into a very real moment of death and rather typical generational disconnect – so good…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Y.

      I assume you are talking the shifting verb tense? The story is written third person, but Becca’s POV, and using past tense, as most stories are. So during the time of the story they were sifting through Clara’s life and they were sorting things to keep. And, thinking about it, they were Clara’s closest living relatives. They are still performing these tasks as the story progresses (though present tense would only be used for a specific reason), so they would pick up their memorabilia and leave sometime in the indeterminant future. They would go to the airport and fly home, sometime in that future. And in that future, they would (they’d) each take a few photos and books to remember Clara. They would moves into a future tense.

      But you say pronouns – “they”. So I’m not sure if I have it. There are two people sifting and sorting and a third who is dead. There is ted and Becca and they do all of the action in the story and there is Clara who is there only in the “ancient” photos ;)

      Yeah, ancient often means super old, like Ancient Greece or Ancient Egypt, but not always. First, there is the limitation of the 100-word story – I had written “old black and white photos”, but that didn’t fit. I changed it to “old”, but it sounded stupid. So I changed it to “ancient”. In non-fiction scholarly papers I have seen “ancient” refer to as little as 10 or 20 years! Dictionary definition: “Having the qualities of age or long existence, such as venerable, old-fashioned or antique.” That was my idea – the photos are old beyond these two people’s experience. To them printed photos were as archaic as bronze swords and shields of ox hide.

      In a digital age with billions of people, how much does one individual leave? And is it important to leave something? Oh well, too much to ponder now ;)

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Prior...

        Thanks for the reply – and first – after I wrote the comment I liked the ancient more because photos have not been around too long and if we look at the life span of this medium?
        It was also a word that was strong and made a point! And to hear that you poured over it is another reason why I enjoy flash – usually people spend time on each word.
        And I was not talking Vern tense at all
        – it was more of like abruptly switching gears – and I almost did not leave my comment because still processing it – but it was awesome to get your reply because you did not mind and you like breaking things down – anyhow – let me chew on it and come back later to see if I can explain it better – but only if this keeps it on the fun level – right? Would never want to overdo things – ha

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          It is always a pleasure communicating with you. The hing about positive criticism is that I often go out and find a great explanation of why I did it the way I did, but later think, “well, she did have a point” ;) So if you come up with a good way to describe what bothered you about the transition, don’t hesitate. Yeah, the 100 word fiction is easy in some ways and hard in others – Occasionally those transitions are abrupt because we are leaving out a bunch of stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

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          1. Prior...

            Hi again T – well it might have been “me” with the issue on this one – lol
            but coming back all fresh – the text had more flow and the pronouns were clear and I had no confusion over what was what –
            so…
            I wonder how much my “morning details” that day impacted the way I read your fiction. We do get primed and all that – but I also appreciate how you humbly are open to learning from various comments.
            for me – some of the comments from FF seemed knit picky (like I once had someone complain about my colored fonts) but later – I “saw” exactly what they meant when I was at a blog that had too many colors and too many font sizes. Sometimes colored fonts can be done so well – but with too many it can. be busy – and I was glad that person spoke up (well later I was…)
            anyhow, your post here also led me to grieve a little more for my aunt M….
            it was a good thing as I have been processing her loss in little spurts – :)
            okay – wishing you a great rest of your day

            Liked by 1 person

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            1. trentpmcd Post author

              No worries. I sometimes totally miss the point or whatever of some posts, and I notice people do the same with mine. I do try to figure out if someone is missing my post because of me or if they just missed it. So, yeah, I want to use it as a learning experience :)

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