Please, put your digital camera back into its camera bag, turn off your computer Photo-Share, and clear your mind.
Thank you. Now, think back. The time: Childhood. The location: Your grandmother’s house at Thanksgiving. Your father and uncles are in the television room watching men smash their heads together over a pigskin ball. Your mother and sisters are in the kitchen, hovering over dessert. By having cleverly implemented your new powers of invisibility, you have escaped both encampments. You are huddled in the corner of the living room beside the built-in bookshelves where your grandparents keep their photo albums.
The thick black pages of the album in your hands have the musky aroma of old books, and at the corner of each picture is a tiny black triangle affixing it to the page. Some of the pictures are sepia. Some black and white. Some are surrounded by narrow white borders. Some are wallet sized. Some are huge. There is no standard size, shape, or shade. Yet all instantly evoke a place and time. Chicago: The Wrigley Building. Brooklyn: The Boardwalk. Norwich: Town Square. The locations are identifiable, yet…different. A lion still guards the entrance to the Art Institute, and the view of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights is unmistakable. But…who is that girl with her arm around the bronze lion’s mane? Who is the man leaning against the railing overlooking the harbor, and why does he have such a cocky expression on his face?