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  • Betty Girardeau

Faded Pictures


I love looking at old photo albums, even when I don't have a clue who any of the people in the picture may be. And there is something about the faded look that I like, too. It seems so appropriate. To fade is defined "to lose brightness or vividness of color. to become dim, as light, or lose brightness of illumination. to lose freshness, vigor, strength, or health." Reading that definition makes the word sound so negative and depressing. I suppose sometimes that is the right use for it. But people have spent big bucks in recent years to have faded denim jeans. And if someone's anger is fading or has faded, that's a really good thing. But back to faded pictures. For me they create both positive and negative emotions. From a positive standpoint, they seem more calm and create a sense of a by-gone time when things "seemed" slower paced. When they are pictures from my own time, they can be the impetus of remembering all kinds of things. But when they are pictures of people who are no longer with us, I can feel a bit sad. And these don't even have to be pictures of people I knew. Back in the mid to late 1800's when Kodak produced cameras that were affordable and easy to use, people took thousands of pictures, usually of each other. Seeing them now in their faded grey or sepia tones, I wonder about these people. What were their lives like, their hopes, their fears. For the time it took to click the shutter, time stood still and that moment was captured forever. I always wonder about what was happening before and after those pictures were taken. What happened to those people? Looking at my purposely faded picture above, I can sense a hot summer day. I can imagine the sounds of people laughing and talking and dogs barking in the distance. Maybe a picnic has been prepared and soon blankets will be spread on the grass where people can recline and enjoy a summer afternoon in a time a place that they will want to remember. They will take pictures that, if printed, will likely fade in time, too. The memories of that summer afternoon will fade, too. But those faded pictures, when they are brought out again, will bring them to life again for awhile.

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