I love snapshots.

Anyone with enough practice or luck can take a good one. And most people have taken a great one.

I remember long ago my dad telling me to put the Sun to my back as I shot with our Kodak camera.

And It’s funny looking through our old snapshots, because it’s not hard to figure out who shot which snapshot.

My mom was the Queen of Hearts. In fact my dad lectured me on the first rule of photography saying, “Son, whatever you do, don’t give mom the camera. She’ll chop your head off every time.”

My dad learned this lesson the hard way when he let her operate the movie camera at a family reunion. As my dad and I watched the Super 8mm footage on the projection screen, we marveled how my mom beheaded relatives with keen efficiency.

Curiously my dad never created a rule covering his photographic sins. He had huge hands and his thumb or finger would find a way into the picture frame.

Looking through our family photos, I notice how each snapshot has its charm.

When I lived in Austin, I remember seeing three barrels of snapshots in a secondhand store. Someone removed the pictures from photo albums and dumped them in the barrels for sale.

Forsaken snapshots are melancholy things, because we lose the stories behind the pictures. And oftentimes people in these snapshots are as anonymous as their photographers. Sometimes a snapshot has a hint, a name or date scribbled on the emulsion or on the back, but too often we have nothing but a forlorn image.

In an ideal world, these snapshots would find their way into a museum, one devoted to snapshots and the oft-anonymous shutterbugs that take them.

Sadly our world is far from ideal.