Of the photos you have taken, which ones will people keep, and which ones will they throw away after you die?

I have been sorting my late husband’s “stuff”, to give away to charity, to his blood family (he is survived by a half-sister and a son he had with his first wife), and some for me to keep as a memory. I have come across many bad family photos from the times of film: rolls and rolls of terrible images one can hardly tell what they are about. Most of them were taken before he and I met, I guess by my husband himself, and they all go to the extended family.

Among the piles of memories, however, I found five black and white film photos of my husband, J.F., which I really like and will keep, three of which I share here. I think they were all taken by the same photographer, one of his closest friends at the time, L.B.

J.F and guitar, unknown photographer, probably L.B. date ??
Portrait of J.F., photo credit: L.B., 1982-1984
Father and son, phot credit: L.B., 1997

Last June, my husband and I went visit an old friend of his, W.R., in Denver, and she had, on her walls, a few other portraits taken by L.B. They are all excellent and soulful. His style is very consistent. The three of them, W.R., L.B. and J.F. were good friends and lived in the Shenandoah Valley, VA, for many years.

Those three photos above were taken before I met my husband for the first time, in 2002. I really like the images; they captured his immutable essence, and the one with the child clearly shows his deep affection for his son, which I had the opportunity to witness in the 20 years we were together. These images are candid, and natural. I love the grain, the deep black shadows, and the softness. Not only they leave me with a wonderful memory of my other half, but they are also a work of art.

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Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

11 thoughts on “Of the photos you have taken, which ones will people keep, and which ones will they throw away after you die?

  1. The photo of your husband with his son is especially charming. It doesn’t require great numbers of photos to stir memories, and these three are wonderful choices.

    I have only one photo of my paternal grandparents together, but it evokes wonderful memories. The oldest photo I have is a tintype of my great-great-grandparents with their three daughters. It would have been taken after the Civil War; given the age of the girls, I’d say it’s from around 1880-1885. It’s like a door into the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a difficult and painful business to have to sort out such possessions, but it is great that you have found these images. They definitely are little works of art – well taken, composed and your husband looks so relaxed and “real”. Nothing posed there. I’m sure you will continue to look back at these with a lot of affection!

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    1. Yes, not an easy task but I was happy to find some treasures. Too bad the best pictures of my husband were not taken by this photographer wife! I’ve learned a lesson or two looking at those prints.

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  3. He looks like a real guy who had a real life. Good for him.

    As my parents and other relatives passed away, I ended up with tons of family photos and slides. You did the right thing: keep the few that matter, that remind you of good things, and just dump the rest. Back in those years, few people knew how to take a picture, but that didn’t stop them from shooting roll after roll. They had their fun with doing that, at the time. No need to keep all the ones that didn’t work.

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    1. You Bet! Out of focus, poorly composed and out of focus just to name a few.
      A real guy with a real life is a good description of my late husband. Interestingly, most of the fun in his real life was before he and I met. Oh well.

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