How will you be remembered?

Meet Aunt Trudy….

This is how I was introduced to her this week… through a stack of black and white photos and letters left behind, and diligently saved by relatives who barely knew her. Years later, those relatives are digging through the leftovers and trying to piece together the scattered remnants in order to tell the story of her life.

As a minor contribution to their efforts, I offered to scan the photos, so Trudy’s story could be shared with other interested relatives.

While I was scanning these wonderful souvenirs of what seems to be a happy and amazing life, these are the thoughts that came to me…

The past looks so much better in 2-dimensional black and white photos. I found myself envious of the life of this person who I have never met. I know better than to think it was a perfect time in history, but I think I would have liked the more simplified lifestyle.

Old black and white photos are so incredible because of their ability to stand the test of time but what will we leave behind when all is said and done?

How will the digital photos, the ones that actually get printed, hold together when our future curious relatives want to start digging up the past? Will they have to go through our Facebook and email accounts in order to fill in our blanks? Will those cyber scrapbooks still exist? Or will our lives disappear once we disappear? And does it really matter anyway?

Well, I don’t have any of the answers, but I know these photos made me smile and reflect for a minute… and I am not even related to her.

So all I can say is… I hope you enjoy Aunt Trudy and her love of life, and cottage cheese, as much as I do. And maybe we should all save a couple of our favorite photos in a safe, waterproof and harddrive crash proof, place for our curious future… just in case facebook is not around.

About the author paige green

Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.

All posts by paige green →


  1. what a great set of B&W’s, really cool. I love the last one.


  2. Really cool set of pics Paige. Must have been fun to scan. I went through my Mum’s old photos from China and Japan and had a similar experience reliving someone else’s life through their photos.


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