You Can’t Write on the Back of a Digital Picture

I love photographs – Especially old photographs. They tell a unique and special story.  My house is decorated with photos – Some old, some new, some from adventures, or from trips, or from boring everyday life; they run the gamut of subject matter from people to landscapes, from pets to wildlife.

A few weeks ago while I visited my mother for Mother’s Day, I unearthed a paper grocery bag of old photographs. I proudly carried the bag into the common area and announced “I’ve found something fun for us to do”.

It was something fun to do.

We’d take a photo from the bag. Look at it then flip it over to see what was written on the back.

Often there was a date, a place, and maybe, if we were lucky, a list of the people in the photo. Sometimes it was my mother’s handwriting. Sometimes the handwriting was of my late grandmother. Sometimes the handwriting was from my great-grandmother. Occasionally it was unknown handwriting. You could almost hear the audible disappointment when there was no handwriting on the back.

 The handwriting gave time, place and purpose to the old photos.

Handwriting is personal. I can see my father’s handwriting in my own. I can see my mother’s handwriting in my own. The handwriting on the photographs gave a connection to the person who wrote on the photo. It is a kind of legacy.

 december 28 1964

This is one of my favorite photos of me. I’ve always thought it was cute. However, recently when I removed it from its frame to scan it so that I could share on social media sites for ‘throwback Thursdays” #TBT; it was only then that I saw my mother’s handwriting:


Dec 28, 1964 15 days before 2nd birthday.

Suddenly the photo had a context. Suddenly the photo had a story. It took on a greater meaning just because of the words transcribed by my mother on the back.

I take a lot of pictures. Some have meaning. Some are silly. Some are just to post/share via twitter or Facebook or instagram. Rarely do I ever make hard copies of photos any more. It’s all digital.

Photos are about to change for me!

I need some hard copies. I need to scatter the memories around my house. I NEED to write on the back of photographs. I’ll still take lots of snapshots. I’ll still digitally share them. But some, a selection, will become hard copies, because you can’t write on the back of a digital picture. And some day, somewhere, someone may flip over one of my pictures and say, “Hey, Gayle wrote on this”.

About Gayle

Gayle is a Social Media Enthusiast and Consultant with Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing; co-owner of Glynne's Soaps; a dalmatian rescuer; genealogist and member of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC); a Cubs Fanatic; hopeful bagpiper; purveyor of positive; and a curious seeker of life.
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2 Responses to You Can’t Write on the Back of a Digital Picture

  1. Linda Peterson says:

    This time, Gayle, you made me cry. Memories are leaking out of my eyes and running down my face. :o)

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