Taking a leap of faith
| Written by Ronnie |
A month or so ago, my father sent me a few snaps of old photos that he found at their house. One was of my beautiful mum in her twenties. The other two were of me as a baby in the old apartment that we lived in back in Hong Kong with my grandparents. These were photos that I’d never seen before! I could hardly believe it. Naturally, I gave my dad strict instructions to bring me all the old photos he could find so that I could do something with them. It took him a few weeks to get them all boxed up, but they are finally here.
I wept gently that first night, when I looked at all the photos for the first time. There were so many that I had never seen before—or that I didn’t remember ever seeing before. Perhaps I may have flicked through them as a little girl, but they certainly didn’t mean as much to me then as they do to me now. As I looked through every single photo, it dawned on me once more how little I actually know of my parents’ past. It was almost like seeing them for who they were—who they are—for the first time. For so long now I have wanted to discover and document both their stories and, now, it finally begins. No more procrastinating. No more “I’ll do that when I have more free time.” No. That time is now.
As you may have guessed, I will be sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses into this personal endeavour of mine (both here and on Instagram), inspired by my parents’ old photos. I already know it is going to be a huge project, so I want to share my creative process from the very beginning.
Naturally, this begins with looking through each and every photo. From there on, I hope to gather information and collect stories from my parents. I imagine this will be the hardest part: not only will we have to find the time to do this (somehow), I will also have to learn and discover the right questions to ask—questions that will draw out both factual information and emotional contexts. I will need to write up these stories and edit them: I am both excited by this and also incredibly daunted, as I want to do my parents’ story justice.
Somewhere along the way, I will also start combining photos with words, creating various design options for the final book (or set of books, which I think will more likely be the case). I already have a certain picture of it in my mind, but I’m looking forward to actually creating it. And ultimately, I think that is what will drive me—seeing the final product on my bookshelf (and my parents’ bookshelf) in my mind’s eye. As I often say to our students: begin with the end in mind, always.
I feel a bit like my dad in this photo: Taking a leap of faith. Ready for this next adventure.