Some Pictures are Anchors

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Some pictures are anchors, linking people or places forever.

My dad was one of twelve children. All twelve married, and had an average of three children each; this adds up to twenty-four aunts and uncles, and thirty-six cousins. This also adds up to rather crowded family reunions at my grandparents’ house —  lots of fun though, with a large pool of family to be really close with.

So there are a lot of us. And for every one of us, the canonical family memory is held in one photograph, taken in 1981 at my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Today, it sits on my mantelpiece:
Cyril Bouanna's family in 1981More than thirty years have passed since I joined the others for this portrait, and as you might guess, the family tree has kept growing new branches and leaves. But it’s also grown apart. My grandfather died the year we took the picture, and without him the big family reunions slowly withered. So a new generation of more than seventy grand cousins have grown up with only the photo as constant reminder that we’re all part a something bigger. It’s like our flag. Or coat of arms.

Last year a grand-niece I didn’t even know existed got tired of wondering who those distant loved ones were, and decided to reunite all of us — first on social media, then in person:

Cyril Bouanna's family in 2015Now my own kids, born on the other side of the planet, are truly part of something much bigger. All thanks to the power of one old picture.

Cyril Bouanna, Lead QA Engineer

Who knew?

  1. My grandma actually had 17 children, though only 12 survived
  2. She had her last child (my youngest aunt) the same year her oldest daughter had her first child (my oldest cousin)
  3. They all lived on my grandfather’s bus driver salary. Think they could do it today?

I like to shoot: DSLR pics of my family wherever we go, because “pics or it didn’t happen” …or it will be forgotten.

My Mylio Setup: Three devices for 100,000 pictures