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A Thousand Words

Look at how much fun they're having, lost in that corn field,
capturing their last happy moment before one of them eats the other rather than face starvation.
(Rosen Georgiev took this picture.  You'd think he would have brought a lunch.)

I'm raising teenagers.  Which means I am a parent to an entire generation that believes that if it wasn't recorded on some camera, somewhere, it didn't really happen.  I'm waiting for the day when we receive an invite to some couple's "Wedding Reception Do-Over," with the explanation that the photographer was going on too little sleep and had taken all the wedding pix with his television remote.

"We thought we were married," the couple will explain.  "But apparently not.  No pictures, no eternity of wedded bliss."

So all the guests will go back to the reception center and smile for the replacement photographer, and then the happy bride and groom can heave a big ol' sigh of relief and declare their marriage official.

My phone has around 500 pictures on it right now.  That's something the 15-year old me would never have imagined saying, unless the family albums slipped off the shelf and buried the 40-pound monstrosity we called a 'telephone,' snapping the rabbit ears off the T.V. and bumping the needle on the Victrola along the way.

Those were the days.

Anyway, back to my phone.  Of those 500 pictures, 398 of them are of my daughter on her graduation day, 77 of them are of this same daughter in the backyard gazing wistfully at some distant object, 12 of them are, again, of this daughter winking from the passenger seat of our Suburban, nine are of this daughter making pouty lips in the bathroom mirror, three are of this daughter and our dog, and one is of my husband and me.

I'm pretty sure that one got in there by mistake.

So naturally, the question is, "How the heck does this kid keep getting her mitts on my phone?"  And the answer is, "I don't know, but if law school doesn't pan out she has a promising future as a pickpocket."

And then the next question is, "What, oh what, shall we do with all these pictures?"

It's a legitimate question.  I mean, not really about the pix on my phone.  One afternoon with the 'delete' button should take care of that nonsense.  But what do you do with honest-to-goodness photographs, aging in photo albums and shoe boxes all over your grandmother's house, soon to be lost to the generation that thinks you should be able to take pictures with any appliance that doesn't cook your breakfast?

At the Story @ Home conference, one breakout session will be conducted by Jeff Parkin, Associate Chair of Theater and Media Arts at BYU, and Edgar Thompson, who for years was the chairman of the U of U Department of Music, and in his retirement has found a passion for photography.

These two gentlemen will share their incredible knowledge about the use of visual record keeping in telling your family's story.  Dr. Thompson is an expert on restoring and preserving old photographs, and Mr. Parkin is a sought-after filmmaker and public speaker.

Between the two, this should be a wonderful hour of instruction and ideas.   Not every story has to be spoken and heard; film and photography allow us to see and imagine. 

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, meaning, of course, that my phone's toting around a good half million of them.  

Contributed to MMB by DeNae Handy, who, upon completion of this post, deleted nearly every single one of her daughter's photos from her phone.  Her daughter had it filled again just 20 minutes later.  Clearly, this has become a contest of wills.

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