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I’ve thoroughly enjoyed photography since I was a youngster. This in turn is the reason that my picture taking has spanned more than five decades.

I categorize the photos that I take into one of two “camps” – the snapshots and the memorable photos.

This article is the another in a series of articles that I’ve called “About this photo” to draw attention to a few of those memorable photos that may be hiding in a shoebox or on your hard drive.

Unlike some people who have photographic memories, I instead have memories about certain photographs.

Most of these special photographs were taken long, long ago. They are indelible and remain riveted in my mind. And so, in this “About this photo” series, I’d like to key in on one of these unforgettable photographs to bring you back to the time and circumstances under which it was taken.


 

Taken late summer 1970, this is a photo of my girlfriend along Lake Michigan. We spent many weekends at this beach that summer.

Usually the beach was very crowded, but on this cloudy and windy day, we had the run of the sand and shore to ourselves.

The red lighthouse was a familiar site to anyone who knows this area and remains a key attraction to the beach today. It’s a lucky coincidence that my girlfriend’s jacket was about the same shade of red as the lighthouse.

The reason that this photo is etched in my mind is that I’ve been married to this lovely lady for 50 years now.



 

Now let’s skip forward some 40+ years.

This photo was taken a few summers ago. Here we have two young girls having fun at the same location on Lake Michigan.

You can see the same red lighthouse along the water albeit at a slightly different angle.

These are two of our young grandchildren. As we were walking along the beach I was reminded of the 1970 photograph when we approached the red lighthouse.

I asked the two girls to pose on the bench in the foreground. This photo captures the familiar feelings of warmth and affection that has somehow remained with me for more than 50 years.


Along the way, I’ve taken a huge number of snapshots. However, the number of memorable photos that I’ve taken is far smaller. Yet it’s the memorable ones that have a magical ability to steer emotions, feelings and pleasure into our minds, even years later. Simply amazing.

 

Written by Arnie Lee

a compact camera comes in handy

Photography isn’t always about planning and capturing images during a photo shoot.

Life “happens” whether you plan for it or not.

If you don’t want to miss the chance to record life as it happens, keep a camera handy. Whether you use a small compact camera or your cellphone camera, it’s fun when you can capture memorable events on “film”.

Life is sometimes about the important and emotional moments. And at other times, it’s about the humorous, the “cute” or the interesting. You may discover that the spontaneous moments are among the most memorable.

Below are a few of the memorable moments that I was able to record by having a camera near at hand.

Food that I adore

Sometimes food overtakes my senses. When this happens, I may snap a photo to remember just how good or different a dish looks and tastes.

Later, I can just look at the picture and recall exactly how it tasted.

Maybe I’m a little obsessed with my taste buds.

Interesting Faces

Several years ago, my son and I were on a cross-country flight that we shared with Mohammed Ali. When he noticed a camera in my hand, he graciously stood up so that we could take this photo.

By having a camera handy, I’ve been able to take dozens more interesting personalities and faces.

Humor

While driving, I spotted these juxtaposed signs that made me smile. I stopped the car and walked to the corner with my compact camera to take this photo.

No matter how serious you are about photography, not all of your subjects have to be serious.

Scenics

For the most part, traveling from one side of the ocean to the other is visually boring. Every once in a while the flight path includes subjects like this one. This is Greenland as seen from about 40,000 feet.

Since I had a small camera with me at the time, I snapped. Now this beautiful scenery serves as a reminder of a place that I’d like to visit sometime.

Children

Here is where cute comes in. Keep a camera ready when the kids are close by and you’ll have ample opportunity to catch them in a variety of poses.

Most of the time we are waiting for them to smile.

But sometimes other looks such as a pouting face are worth remembering too.

There’s no need to make a New Year resolution to record your kids, family, friends and memorable events. By having a small compact or cellphone camera close by, you’ll be prepared when the moment is right.

 

 
Written by: Arnie Lee


Why Photos Matter

30th August 2010

I have a lot of fond memories from my growing up years in suburban New York. Photographs have helped me recall many of these memories.

About four months ago, I was preparing for our bi-annual family reunion. My project was to design an album of family members to be auctioned as part of the reunion fundraisers. I looked through hundreds of Mom’s “shoebox photos” from the 1940’s and 1950’s and found forty or so pictures for the album. I carefully scanned each photo, chose the layout for each album page through an online service, completed and ordered the album online and received the finished photo book by mail in plenty of time for the reunion.

This by itself is reason enough to demonstrate why photos matter, but this article goes a step further.

While looking through Mom’s photos, I found one that I put aside. A few weeks later when I had some free time, I again retrieved the photo.

Here was a picture of Mom, my sisters and myself and a familiar face from the 1950’s.

 

We knew this lovely woman on the left as “Aunt Rita”.

Looking closely, you’ll notice that we are standing on a boat. To be precise, we are standing on “The Amoy”, a Chinese junk that she and her husband Alfred owned and lived on. They raised three sons on the Amoy.

The Nilson’s moored their boat a few blocks from our house. Somehow, Aunt Rita had befriended my mother and we would frequently visit the Nilsons on their junk.

The photo also reminds me of the painting gifted by Mrs. Nilson. The still-life painting graced our living room wall for so many years with her signature neatly tucked at the bottom, right-hand corner of her artwork.

I searched the Internet by googling “The Amoy”. One entry linked me to a postcard of the same Chinese junk that brought back even more memories.

I bought the postcard which helped me recall the exact coloring of the junk and also reminded me of the boat’s dark teakwood finish and many “interesting” rooms below deck.

I am now trying to track down one or more of the Nilson’s three sons (success, please see Comments below).

Postcard caption: Chinese junk moored at Echo Bay (New Rochelle, N.Y.). As an aside: the Nilsons later moved their boat from Echo Bay to the Bronx along the Hutchinson River Parkway near the defunct Freedomland.

Photos matter to be because they help me reach back to memorable times of the past. They’re a constant reminder to me to take lots of pictures and show them to the world!

Written by Arnie Lee