Nostalgia Defined

For thousands of years, human beings have attempted to recreate the world around them. Moreover, from cave drawings to Matisse Impressionist paintings, to photos and video, we have stridently tried to recreate our surroundings and what’s in them– it’s what I like to call nostalgia defined.

First of all, what is it about our innate fear of letting go of the past? Yet, perhaps it’s not fear, perhaps it’s excitement. Remarkably, I have found that they are of the same animal.

Ironically enough, Americans have been raised in a society that teaches that money doesn’t mean much, and then, the recitations of our own struggles and those around us tell a much different story.

Secondly, one similarity we do have is our love of things we can hold, touch, smell, and taste, those things that make up nostalgia and our bittersweet memories. Truthfully, whether you’re a beggar on the street holding out a cup for change, or Bill Gates waxing down his Maserati, the physical world keeps us grounded. We find strength in familiarity.

I think that’s why photos are so important to us.

One picture of a lost love and suddenly you’re fixated on the first time you saw the flicker of light in their eye, felt the burning inside your heart, tasted the salt from their lips…

A whole novel can be encompassed within one photo.

For example, many Native Americans had a slightly different outlook on the positivism of photos. They thought their souls would become trapped within the picture. Unfortunately, in a way they were right. Social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter profit largely on that very idea. With your picture, an umbrella of information can be immediately tagged onto you. That’s whether or not parts or the whole of that picture is really an accurate representation of your being.

When I went to Paris and saw the Mona Lisa, I was astounded at how tiny the painting was. First of all, since I was a kid, I had read about the Mona Lisa. Yet, once she was before me, I realized that I had built up this image of the painting in my head as 5 times bigger than it actually was. That’s the power one image can have on us; it can flip years of thought on its head. Regrettably, The nostalgia I thought I would feel for the piece was built on false promises.

Oddly enough, I work largely in technology, but despise it just the same, for how easy and diluted it’s made everyday life. Ten pictures of last week’s housewarming party on Facebook does not hold the same weight as a picture from the late 80’s of my sister and I laughing as kids does. Moreover, I fear that, as a gap to those generations, the truth about what separates and binds us together will be lost. That is exactly what we call nostalgia– that slipping, that letting go of what makes us who we are– and yet we are just able to hold onto it.

Now, we are seeing a reverse of what we define as “new age” and “advanced.” A Polaroid instant camera is worth just as much now as a smart phone that can access the internet, keep your calendar, wake you up with an alarm in the morning, and communicate via voice, text and videos around the world. Obviously, we have placed a hefty price on the past.

That’s why CSD Framing (shameless shout out) has survived through ups and downs and will only continue to get better. Nostalgia is a hard thing to kill. First of all, you can’t replace the sweet smell of a wooden frame, the shine of the glass. Not to mention, the real, authentic signature of a Tony Romo photo you shot at the game in the freezing cold. It’s not the same as pixels on an internet screen. It’s not a 15 dollar generic frame from Michael’s with a picture tucked behind glass. Let’s hope it doesn’t lose its placing. Or break when Coco, your beloved Pomeranian, decides that the coffee table is a perfectly suitable place for an afternoon nap.

Understandably, that’s exactly why we’re still here.

I mean, the framing stuff… not Coco, although I’m sure she’s adorable.

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