Helena Rodriguez: A picture may be worth a thousand words


By Helena Rodriguez

Guest Columnist

A picture may be worth a thousand “likes.” It may be worth a dozen or so “shares” and comments. And if it really strikes a popular chord, it may even go viral.

But will it ever get framed?

Will it ever be hung in the permanent museum of your living room? Will it stare back at your children and grandchildren and watch their every move in the halls of your home? Will it ever be deposited into the safe-keeping of a gold-lined photo album for generations to thumb through?

A picture may be worth a thousand words, and in this day and age, those countless words are only a click away. But will it last a thousand years, perhaps like the Shroud of Turin? Will it even last a thousand days or seconds? Will it speak to future generations about lives and events once lived? Will it ever find its way into a scrapbook — not a digital one — but one you can touch? Will it ever become a part of permanent history? Will it ever even be tangible?

OK, I’ve asked a lot of questions. By now I hope you get the idea. We live in a culture that likes to dispose a lot. We also live in a culture today that likes to record — sometimes our own or others’ every moves — in the form of sound or video bytes and pictures.

With the Internet and social media the world is at our fingertips. But what happens when the power goes out or, with a wrong move, things get permanently zapped? I’m sure the thought has crossed your mind a time or two. At least it has mine.

I shudder to think about many publications that are only keeping online archives and the chunk of history that could be permanently lost. Even with a backup, a natural disaster could make it permanently inaccessible.

OK, so we don’t need to preserve photos of what we ate for dinner every night during the summer of 2015; nor do we need to create millions of “selfies museums.” That certainly would tell future generations about our self obsessiveness, but there is a valid and contributing part of history in each one of us and our families.

My granddaughter, Genavecia, likes to come into my bedroom at night while I am on my laptop and sift through a box of photos I have on the floor. Sometimes I hear her talking to the photos saying “Hi!” and “Mamma” or I will tell her, “Grandpa Julio” and “Grandma Katie.”

And when I pulled out the photo albums for my grandson Giovanni, 4, recently, I didn’t realize how quickly fads had become now symbols of bygones, bygones which appeared to him interesting, entertaining and a little weird (1980s hairsprayed “scaredos”).

Perhaps as weird as the bouffant hairstyles of the 1950s or George Washington pouffed up and curled pigtails of the 18th century.

I plan to make some permanent prints of some of my favorite digitals. They may even make awesome Christmas presents. People may be so speechless by these photos that just may speak volumes, perhaps even a thousand words to them.

Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: Helena-Rodriguez@hotmail.com

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