While I was cramming for midterms one ordinary College day, I received a phone call that broke a long silence. It was a good friend who lived in the same apartment building. She spoke so fast that her words blended together. Huh? Say that again? When she repeated herself, all I heard were bits and pieces….
“Big fire” “Coming towards you” “Evacuated a long time ago” “GET OUT NOW!”
In complete disbelief, my roommate walked outside “to see if she could see anything”. She returned shaking. The wildfire was not only in sight, close by, but also distinctly heading towards our building.
We gave ourselves one minute to grab what we could before running to my car. Adrenaline was fueled by panic. I will never forget what I grabbed: my keys, wallet, a couple pieces of jewelry, and photo albums. Every single photo album. Those albums weighed like 10 lbs each, and I had to have them all!
What I learned from the Oakland Fire of ’91 is that I found photos to be one of the most important possessions I own.
That’s because a photo isn’t just a photo. It’s something that makes memories permanent, so you can enjoy, share and hopefully treasure them for years to come, or even with future generations. Each family I photograph has their own unique style, connection, and way of interacting, and I am grateful to have the important role of capturing this for them. xoxo