Photographs remain even when reality disappears. How is that for profound? I frequently talk to people about the value of images, how no one lives for ever, and that a well-crafted photo can help us to remember those that are no longer with us.
It applies to places and things as well. Just ask anyone who grew up in one of the “Lost Villages,” the name given to the communities that were levelled and later submerged during the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958.
As a young man, I saw my future in retail, working my way up the management ladder in the men’s wear department of various Woolco Department stores in eastern and southern Ontario.
It would never be a career that made me wealthy (are you seeing a theme here?) but I really enjoyed the work and the people. Many of the people skills I employ today were developed as a management trainee.
Today, I read an article about the closing and planned demolition of the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre in west-end Ottawa. It will be replaced with a new multi-use development. In the interim it will be an empty field instead of a place where people gathered to shop, eat, drink and interact.
Memories will keep Lincoln Fields alive for a while, but even that will slowly disintegrate. Without images it will become that place that used to be on Carling Avenue near the western parkway.
Times change, the world changes, and we won’t be here forever, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that there was something that would live long after we are gone that would let the world know that we were here and that we mattered?
Think about that the next time you argue there is no need for anything other than a digital image. The digital world can disappear in one “click,” and there won’t even be rubble to prove that it even existed.