Text & Photo by Fred Bonilla
(A portion of this article is derived from "This Is What It's All About", an article I wrote for photoinduced.com in 2012.)
In my 30+ years as a camera salesman & photographer, I can name countless times when the power of photography has manifested itself as a healing and powerful force for good.One such time was in the late 70's in my first photo job as a manager of a Fotomat (remember them?) styled store in New York City. A middle aged woman brought in a roll of 110 color film for developing,urging me to take good care of it for they contained important pictures.
Being in my early 20's, I gave my stock answer that it would be well taken care of, thinking to myself that of course, “to them, they’re ALL important pictures”. Turns out that the roll was somehow exposed to light and it came back labeled “Unable To Print”. When the woman came back and heard the news, she broke down and wept uncontrollably, then grabbed and urged me to send it back to the lab and do whatever it took to get any sort of image on paper.
Seeing her distressed state, I called the lab and asked them to print any image they could, and work any magic they can. What came back to this woman’s hand a day later was a faint picture of the woman and a young man, with a barely visible smile on both of their faces. Tears appeared again on this woman’s face, but they were joyful and bittersweet.
It happens that this young man was her son who joined the U.S. military and the photo was taken just before he went off to basic training. This was the last photo ever taken of him for he sadly died in a freak accident where he was stationed.
She hugged and thanked me for my effort in preserving this for her (and it was of course none of my doing but the lab’s dodging, burning and other tricks) I learned then as Susan Sontag said that “To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” In layman's terms, photography is good and it can be good for you as well!
To prove my (and Ms. Sontag's) point, I ask you to click here and learn about at least 9 benefits that photography can provide to your physical and mental well being. While we will not make any claims like Dr. Oz, we do stand by what the author says and would love to hear from any of our customers and friends who agree.