I spent my 4th of July like most did: eating juicy hamburgers off the smoking grill, sipping amazing mixed drinks and enjoying great conversations with friends and family. The weather was perfect and fireworks decorated the clear sky. But everyone knows a cook-out isn't complete without good music. Luckily that same day, American rapper, Jay Z, released his 12th studio album, titled Magna Carta Holy Grail. Although I like all the songs, "Oceans" (featuring Frank Ocean) stood out to me the most. To be more specific, it was a line in Jay Z's verse that inspired this article. The song deals with his personal and ancestral journey from slavery to millionaire. In one line he refers to pictures being the only reason why some people have been able to see him. His exact words are "If it wasn't for these pictures they wouldn't see me at all".
This got me thinking; he was right! Without photos, how else would some of us witness certain events, people or places the world has to offer. Thanks to pictures, I have a clear mental image of the Eiffel Tower in France and of the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Kids can experience the jungles of the Amazon and couples can relive their wedding day. Photography has played a key role in the process of sharing not only our (human) history, but also our personal lives. This simple realization left me in complete awe!
It brought me back to a conversation I shared with a special friend of mines, when she told me the story of how her parents met. Her father was living in New York city (1970s), when he saw a picture of a beautiful women during a visit to his friend's home. After learning she was single and living in Puerto Rico, he set his mind on conquering her heart. They began exchanging letters and photos; getting to know one another, despite the distance. After months of communicating via mail, they finally had the chance to meet, and proceed with their love. Me and my friend laughed about how that photo brought her to existence. Although we joked about it, it was true. If it wasn't for that picture, her father would have never seen her mom (at least not when he did). It wasn't the quality of the picture or the photographer. It wasn't the scene or the composition. The subject was all that mattered.
As a photographer, I am aware of the power I have. To capture and share my life with others. Every second I spend with my camera is an opportunity to freeze a moment worth remembering.
So, if it wasn't for pictures... what would you have missed?