My mother tells me to photograph things that will make me happy in two days or five years. “Aleena, a camera helps you remember,” she says.
There is something else I’ve noticed about my pictures: They have no magic when they are still in my camera or on a screen. I need to hold them in my hands to remember.
So, my mother prints them for me: pictures of my father before he died, pictures of trees that bend in funny ways, pictures of stray dogs with hopeful ears standing straight, pictures of my mother while she sleeps on the couch after working very late. Sometimes I walk around with these pictures as if they were dolls. They need to be close to me, and I show everyone how safe they make me feel.
That, I suppose, is the power of a single picture.