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10 Ways of Looking at Your Old Photographs

Updated on December 16, 2016
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With the invention of camera, photos have become a part of our culture. We do have a plenty of them, right from ancestors to our childhood, from marriage to celebrations and anniversaries….there are different shades and modes of images. Just take an album, scroll down the pages and try a keen observation, you would surely feel a kind of whispering, with just a little concentration there silent communiqué can be understood to an amazing possible extent. Along with our presence, if it’s coupled with happenings in and around, the interiors of the image are sure to appear as clearly as is the case of their external part.orld the photos and try to have

Our albums are a “material past”, a past that can be viewed and touched. Though it’s impossible to go back to the golden old days, but our photographs help us take a virtual tour of the past. We can touch and feel those days. The space and time restrictions vanish. Within a fraction of a second we go back to hundreds of years and come back to the present with the same precision of time.

If we make use of our senses, the phenomenon of looking back helps us predict our future. By traveling in a vehicle of observation and with a strong imagination the realities of the future can be released. Our photographs must serve as a “future forecast” too. Any photo for that matter, take the album and start looking at it, it should reveal amazing facts and ensure your enlightening cruise from past to present and then to the future.

Every photo speaks and silently communicates a message or two, do we hear? There is more to look for a photo than to have a mere glance on it. The most amazing thing is a stunning realization that the time passes off swiftly, the album is but a timeline.

1) Time Passes off Swiftly

The very first impression we get from the old photographs is that of time and then comes the realization. Things have changed drastically, the image is not that old, but the comparison of it with the present make us feel that how swiftly the time passes off? We seldom think of those olden days but with the aid of a pic, all of a sudden the screen of past appear before our eyes. Every part of it openly says, behold the time doesn’t remain constant, it keeps on changing. Just look at your present and see in what productive ways your past had been utilized.

Time doesn’t stop; it continues to flow and waits for none. We can’t show its possession, impossible to see or touch it. But yes, we can say the time has an infallible relation with us, our time is our existence. Every image reflects the same. Though once we had clicked it just for a record; now it has more to offer. The most striking thing is about the reality of time.

For me the old photographs are

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2) Happier Times

Open the cupboard and take out the marriage album, it’s one of the precious treasures that every one of us possesses. We take greater care to keep it safe and even its cover intact. Obviously, for every one of us marriage day is very special rather, it’s a defining moment of our lives. The moment we got married, the mode and the style of our life changed. The moment we see those photographs we think of our spouse. What a love and affection we had at that time. We were each other’s world; our happiest moments were closely knitted with likes and dislikes of each other. We used to wait for night to come and wished the night to stay forever.

What a happier time that was? Along with us our relatives and friends too were quite happy, we stood together, dine together, had loads of fun. Every photo serves as a happier page of our past life. That not only defines the true essence of our marital ties, but also the depth of our relationship with families and friends.

3) Health

In some cases we feel a change in health conditions of our own and of near and dear ones. Compared with the past, the present sports significant improvements; in some cases we find a bit deterioration. A few photos reveal some of the family members’ health has improved; someone has put on weight, someone has gone bald. A keen observation reveals one or the other health aspects, positive or negative, of those with whom we live. Now it’s equating to the present reveal that health is very precious and the means adopted for its improvement get exposed and also negligence for its deterioration.

4) Economic Conditions

The backdrop of every picture reveals a lot. If it had been clicked in a homely atmosphere, then the ceilings, the walls, the carpets, the couches, the dining table and the showcases say it all. Comparatively, our home is decorated much more what it was a few years back. The cloth we wore, the jewelry on our bodies, the watches on the wrists……the shoes and other accessories say it all that we have been bestowed with, that wasn’t a part of our lives in the past, the economic conditions have improved. It might be a reverse case too; some photos may reflect a contrast atmosphere. In either case there is a lot to learn and move ahead to face the ups and downs of life with a cheerful mood.

portrait of an early 1900's family
portrait of an early 1900's family | Source

5) Relationships

With our parents and children, we become an agency of a series of relationships. With the relatives from both the sides, the relationship multiplies and gets a multilayer form. True, with these relationships we form our social existence without which it’s hard to survive in the society. Photographs are the best source to remember the very fact and teach our children about who is who and who forms what relation with us. Upon looking at a few images we find a varied spectrum of our mutual relationships. Now someone has come still closer, someone has come a step forward to offer his help, someone has maintained a little distance, someone is happy and someone is not.

The shades of moods and relationships with the relatives define our social existence. The most effective way of maintaining a healthy relationship is to have a broader sense of understanding and love and affection towards the kith and kin. Most important, we should teach our children the importance of relatives and their importance in our lives. We should hold our children’s hands and point with our fingers to emphasize the contributions of the relatives, their sacrifices and love towards them. If they are not alive, we should take our children in their respective towns to show their abodes or to the graveyard to show their resting place.

Obviously, the introduction and familiarity with the family members and ancestors is a benchmark of a cordial relationship and a healthy family system, which is, of course, pivotal in today’s era of disintegrated and scattered families.

6) The Sad Demise

Some photographs remind us of the sad demise of the near and dear ones, such is a painful observation. We hardly stare at those images, try to avoid and move our eyes from them. The departed souls were once our companions, we sat, laughed and dine together, shared happiest and painful moments, but now there is huge difference they are not our part anymore. The greatest reality of life is the death that gets reflected through these pics of which we were once a part. It elucidates the reality of life, that one day we have to depart from the world with our own deeds, the belongings and the relatives in no way are going to accompany.

Horace Houghtlen & family  circa 1900
Horace Houghtlen & family circa 1900 | Source

7) Grown Up Children

One of the most fascinating things about our Album is a significant development of our children. Upon looking at our grown up child, we seldom believe in our eyes that once he was in our lap, so small, completely dependent, now, over the period of time things have changed, the child has become so huge and independent? I think this surprise with loads of curiosity is the nicest of all surprises that we come across with during our lifetime. The comparison of past and present makes us feel good that our efforts have paid off. The child once walking by holding our fingers is now in a position to hold our hands.

8) Realities of Life

In some cases we find noteworthy revelations. A few photographs depict someone’s ill health and a tense relationship, that in turn reminds us of the care and precautions that we took, but nothing could be materialized, things remain unchanged. At that time we didn’t realize now the time makes us realize the secrets of some of the realities of life. Yes, it’s the time that heals and it’s a good option to exercise. In some cases, it’s a good teacher and in some cases time makes us understand what we did, and what should have been done. The photographs are the best source of comparison between the past and the present experiences.

9) Rectification of Things

With each and every image it becomes apparent that the past was a phase of life with specific circumstances, problems and issues, both familial and social. In order to meet those internal and external challenges we did our best to overcome and have a suitable solution. What happened then is known to everyone. Now just compare the situations of the past and present, compare the way you tried to rectify those things and the way you are doing now, there might appear a huge difference in your perception of things and methodology of solving the problems. So every image acts as a benchmark to realize how to rectify things and move on in life.

10) The Development

From art to black and white photography to the present age of High Definition photos, the art of photography has developed enormously. The present is quite different from the past. The concept of photography was quite difficult to perceive in the olden days, but today even a child can easily click a photo as easily he plays with his toys. Let the advancement bring change in our outlook and approach too. In today’s era, the High Definition photos have increased the pixels of the images that make it a live and bubbly one.

  • Let us increase the pixel of love and concern to make the photos of relationships look brighter in every sense.
  • Let us increase the pixel of caring and sharing attitude to make the image of the world attractive.
  • Let us increase the pixels of magnitude of selfless service to make the image of humanity looks humane in real sense.
  • Let us increase the pixel of duties and responsibility to make the image of the world an embodiment of peaceful coexistence.

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Let Us Preserve The Treasure

If you think about the relationship by looking at the photos of past and present, they seem nothing but memories. They serve as a great treasure. For many only a glimpse of an image of their near and dear ones gives a lease of life and brings smile on the face. Had not been such a source of remembrance, the relationships and the bonding would have been difficult to maintain. This technological advancement is God’s blessings that with a mere click we store very precious memories. The real treasure is both people and their memories; else memories are just a piece of paper. Let us preserve both.

© Sept, 2015 – Muhammad Abdullah Javed (m abdullah javed)

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    • AMBIKA RATI profile image

      AMBIKA RATI 

      14 months ago

      This made me looking back to my old photos whose remembrance made me so happy.well written!!

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      2 years ago

      You are true Chriswillman, it is a pain looking at the photos of those who were once with us. We should pray for the departed souls to rest in peace and try to inculcate in ourselves good qualities by virtue of which they continue to be a part of our memory. Thanks for your visit and kind words.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 

      2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I have mixed feelings about old photos with both happy and sad memories. The worst is looking at people who've passed, which for some brings back good memories but to me makes me wish they were still here.

      I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic and every point is well said.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      2 years ago

      Thanks Devika.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great ideas! Looking at old photos takes one down memory lane and lots to think about from there.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      2 years ago

      Thanks Frank Atanacio, for your visit and appreciation. Good that you have your own treasure of the past. Take care.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago from Shelton

      I still save and look at old photos, it's a hobby and this 10 ways of looking at old photos makes a great deal of sense. thank you for sharing :)

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Yes aviannovice you are true that the still images bring life to our still moments. Thanks for the visit and sharing your feelings. I appreciate it.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Photographs preserve so much and tell us so much about one another, especially in the family life, as you have indicated. You brought up a lot of necessary information that I never even considered before. Thanks for enriching my life a little more.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Very true Sparklea, Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Linda, so nice of you and your comments, I appreciate your visit.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the idea of photos whispering to us. I sense this when I look at old photos of my family. There are some lovely thoughts in this hub.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 

      3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Excellent and informative hub! I LOVE photos! Each one ties a ribbon around memories. If our house on fire the only possession I would grab would be photo albums. Thank you for all you shared, I just loved it.

      Sparklea :)

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Larry Rankin for your visit and kind words.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wonderful look into the effects old photos have on us.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      I admire Kathy the way you have shared your personal feelings. Yes the departed ones always leave a scar on our memories. Now, only prayers and charity works are the only source left that connect us with the departed souls. May God bless them all. Take care, things will turn out to be good on your part. God willing.

    • Kathy Tukavkin profile image

      Kathy Tukavkin 

      3 years ago

      Thank you for your article, I especially stopped and re-read the part about the dearly departed and how we were all together and happy, then an untimely death of someone young tears the family apart and now for over 15 years, there have been no photos of us together like that again. Mind you I'm not all that old, I just turned 38 this year. It also reminds me of a photo album I've wanted my whole life but still don't have - my wedding album, although I've been assured it's coming soon...Thanks again.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Ana for the visit and kind words. May you live with your old friends again.

    • Ana Kolomeka profile image

      Ana Kolomeka 

      3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Awhile back, I scanned my old photo albums onto my computer. I saw all these pictures of people I knew a long time ago, and wondered what became of them. I was able to contact a few.

      Great hub - thanks!

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Sharon, I'm really honored with those kind words. Thank you so much for the visit and encouragement. Take care.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Abdullah, great hub and reminder to look at old pictures, most of mine are lost to me. But I have managed to get some copies from relatives of some replaced. The ones I miss the most are the ones of my sons when they were small.

      Thank you for opening the window to the past, for us to look at.

      Blessings my friend.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thank you so much Nell Rose for your kind words and the visit.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Hi, thanks so much for your email I really appreciate it! And a great hub too, we always keep photos so this is good advice.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Exactly Deborah. Praying for you and your loved one's may God bless them all. Thanks for the visit.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Exactly Deborah. Praying for you and your loved one's may God bless them all. Thanks for the visit.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      3 years ago from Orange County, California

      Looking at old photos is a wonderful way to bring back memories of people and places I love.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your feelings MsDora, it means a lot to me. Nice to know that you have flourished and now the conditions have improved, may God bless you and your family and make your house an abode of peace and prosperity.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for underscoring the benefits of old photographs. All good, but number four has some significance for me. Just a few days ago, we were looking at the picture of our house from decades ago. We were reminded of how blessed we are! We have come a long way.

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Excellent Stephanie, your heartfelt feelings are as true as your past, may God bless you all, thanks for such a wonderful comments, feeling good.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      3 years ago from USA

      Those precious memories that our old photographs bring to mind are indeed dear to my heart. How lucky we are to have a record of our children and grandchildren growing into adults. I have to admit that it is the snapshots of everyday life that are most precious...my mother and father on a hay wagon bringing in the hay, my granddaughter and her cousins daring each other to eat bugs, my husband in a snowstorm clearing the driveway. Your article makes me want to pull out those boxes of old photos again!

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Yeah I know Bill Sir, infact through your hubs I got inspiration to look at the old photographs the way do. Thanks for your visit and encouragement.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful article, my friend. I love our old family photos. I'm the only family member left, and all those photos are treasures for me. Thank you for the reminder to take those pictures out and look at them today.

      blessings always

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Akriti for your visit.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 

      3 years ago from Shimla, India

      What a lovely post

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Jazakallahu Khairan Wissam, just tried to put the things as felt right, glad that you liked it. Thank you so much for your prayers. احبک الذی احببتنی لہ

      May the One love you for whom you loved me.

    • Wissam Qawasmeh profile image

      Wissam Qawasmeh 

      3 years ago from Amman - Jordan

      Very unique article , the part talking about children is so touching

      I pray to Allah keep your children close to you all life long

    • m abdullah javed profile imageAUTHOR

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      3 years ago

      Thelma thanks for your visit and kind words.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      3 years ago from Germany

      Looking at my old photos reminded me of happy times with my family and friends. Thanks for reminding me of my old photos. I will find a lot of things there to write. Well done. Thanks for sharing and following me.

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