Smartphones make is easy to snap a picture, to freeze a moment, to make a visual memory. When I walked the Natchez Trace, I took hundreds of photos. Five hours alone on my feet meant lots of boredom. I filled that boredom with point-and-shoot.

Boredom can make the best memories.

Those pictures became a journal. I never took notes, never recorded conversations, never wrote anything beyond a daily post. After five hours of walking, my fingers didn’t work very well. It would sometimes be midnight before the swelling went down enough to type a report for you.

But I could always take pictures.

When I scrolled through them, sounds and scents came back. Voices rang through the landscape. Daily characters paraded across my screen.

I knew those pictures
would never let me forget.

not without my father

becci manson photos

Becci Manson felt the same way about photography. While she used her talent to retouch pictures, to make them perfect, she never understood how that skill could be used in a disaster. She volunteered to work in the wake of Japan’s tsunami because she was young and healthy. Never squeamish, she knew she could remove debris, muck out damaged buildings and dispose of rotten food.

Becci’s experience changed
when someone brought her a photo.

A little girl. More than a hundred years old. Somebody’s great-grandmother, preserved as she once was. Becci gazed into her eyes and knew she could make a difference. She could restore that little girl, make her whole, return that memory to her family intact. Perfect. Complete.

Becci recruited a team of photographic retouchers from all over the world. Together, they reclaimed 135,000 memories, precious connections that would likely be forgotten without a visual marker.

Enjoy Becci’s TED Talk now.

Do you have favorite old photos?
How do you preserve them?

Join the Make a Memory Movement HERE.

Mark your calendars.
Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time.
Available March 15, 2015.

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