There’s a funny thing about photographs and memory; it’s hard to separate one from the other. Do I remember the picture of the event or the event itself? In the end, the distinction isn’t that important.
Loving photographs and history as I do, photographs give me a sense of the past and an appreciation for what they can reveal. Records of moments, snapshots of memory, they can offer threads to the present. They can illuminate parts of ourselves that we carry through life.
How does the first-day-of-kindergarten four and half-year-old connect to the sixty-nine-year-old teacher and photographer? How are the first day of school and the initial encounter of the world beyond the comfort of my family similar to the creative life journey I am about to begin?
In my favorite plaid dress, red bow set off against my combed blonde hair and matching socks, I present myself to the camera and the photographer; with the camera as witness to the familiar passage. Who is this little girl, who’s not yet lost a single baby tooth, but already has a path behind her that will lead her to a the creative moment of departure more than sixty years later?
She’s not 100% ready or confident, but she’s not too afraid either. Smiling for the camera, she seems eager to please. There’s intention and a certain seriousness in her body language that suggests she’s about to give it her best. Perhaps the photographer should have reminded her not to take it all too seriously. After all, it’s kindergarten, and it should be about learning through play. I’m not sure “the witness” did that then, so today I’ll offer those reminders to myself and for myself. You don’t know what you’ll learn, little girl, but trust me, you won’t be the same person at the end of the journey.