As with many initiatives, the inspiration comes not from one place, but from many. For us, I think three things led to the establishment of this project:
- Lindsay and I were married in 2001. At our wedding, we went to each table and had a photograph taken with all of our guests. We have those photos hanging on the wall in our home. Since we were married, a number of the people in those photographs have passed away and two of the couples have divorced. Yet each day we walk past these photos of our friends and remember something about them and what they mean to us;
- I visited a clients home three months ago to deliver some photographs. She had a group of friends over and they were scrapbooking their childrens’ calisthenics photos from the previous year. I stayed to have a coffee with them and it got me thinking about how many times I had picked up a photo album at my parents and grandparents homes. And how many times I smiled as I looked through those pages and re-lived some of the memories that I saw in those photographs. I have a five year old nephew. Most of the photos that his parents have taken of him are stored on CD’s or their iPhones. Having an IT background and knowing how fragile digital data can be, I wondered whether Rhys would have any of those photos to look through when he is older.
- Recently, we photographed a young lady who had just become the Victorian State Champion in Irish Dance. I “googled” her name as a prelude to blogging about her achievement and found nothing. This indicated to me that our local newspapers had not told her story. Similarly, the grandson of one of our good friends is just 10 years old. In September of this year he will be travelling to Italy to compete in the World Sailing Championships. It got me thinking that there are many young people in our community who are doing fantastic things that most of us don’t know about.
It has been estimated that:
- there have been more photos taken in the last five years than in all the prior years combined;
- less than 1 out of 100,000 photographs taken actually get printed.
These are sad statistics when you think that although we have really only embraced the digital age in the past dozen years we have already had floppy discs, zip drives, CDs, DVDs, and now USBs. My new iMac doesn’t have a DVD drive. In five years it won’t support USB. When this happens, how will we view all of those photos that we have stored away ‘safely’. The digital world gives us the ability to see our photos instantly and to share them with Grandma or Uncle Bob, but digital isn’t a ‘permanent’ solution to viewing our photos and sadly many of those memories aren’t going to be around tomorrow. One day my nephew will be grown up with children of his own. When they ask to see photos of their dad when he was little, what will Rhys show them?
So we developed Pride of Geelong with the aim of showcasing some of the remarkable young people in the Geelong region and ensuring that their story is told in an enduring way. We decided that we would search out socially active and inspirational young people, photograph them and combine their stories in a hard cover commemorative photo book. Not only will the book document a very important time in the lives of these young people and our wider community, it will form part of their family history and still be here in years to come to be looked at by future generations.