DECLARATIONS: THE HIDDEN STORIES OF PRINTED PHOTOS (MS. WRIGHT)

Mr. Ernie’s room is quiet, still, and calm. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to meet Mr. Ernie before now, at the time we meet, his demeanor is the same.

Memories are displayed for him to see across the room but the space directly around him is minimal – with the exception of a single framed photo looking over him.

“Mr. Ernie, this photo must be very important to be so close to you and displayed. Is this your wife?”

He nods.

“What is it that you remember when you look at this photo?”

“It was a very happy marriage.

I was a firefighter. It was a great job, the excitement. [My wife was a] stay at home wife. We had a very good life together and we just got along good together. Our kids are great – four children. She did a beautiful job with that.

  Mr. Ernie, resting with a photo of his wife.

Mr. Ernie, resting with a photo of his wife.

We went to Ocean City every year. What I loved most about my wife is that she put up with me – I was rough, I’ll tell ya. [laughs] We got along well together. It doesn’t seem like that long ago. She’s passed away.”

One of the things that will always amaze me: How much life can be held in a single ‘pretty picture’ and the wealth of memories that can come from them. 

  Mr. Ernie's display of family memories and recent cards.

Mr. Ernie's display of family memories and recent cards.