Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sharing Photos

Photo by Fulvio. 
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. 

For the past three years, I've been visiting friends who live in skilled nursing centers.  I enjoy listening to them talk about people, places and events from their youth.  I have learned some things about the Dust Bowl, World War II, and life in small towns located in central California, south central Kansas and eastern Pennsylvania.

In order to aid the conversation, sometimes I bring in books and magazines to help jog a friend's memory. After spending some time and money on coffee table books, I finally recognized an inexhaustable and handy resource in my purse.

My smart phone.

I finally started using my Droid Razr Maxx HD phone as an aid to conversation.  This is so much easier than toting around books. And my supply of photos is greater than all those boxes of slides my parents accrued in the days before digital photography.

When my friend Gayle talked to me about Elvis, I typed in "Elvis Presley" in the web browser and brought up images. We scrolled through over 100 pictures of the King while she told me about her favorite songs.

My phone loads images quickly
More recently, I searched on images for Pittsburgh where Gayle had gone to art school as a young adult. Her hearing has become worse lately, but she can still tell me stories.

The pictures from my Droid Razr Maxx HD load quickly because it has a good operating system, a lot of memory, a long-lasting battery and a strong signal from the Verizon 4G network.

I load the pictures and hand her the phone. She soon learned how to use her finger to scroll through photos. This helped her remember not only places but people and events from the time that she lived in Pittsburgh.

After high school, she worked sewing bags of tobacco in order to earn tuition for art school.  After graduation, she got a job sketching runway shows. Her drawings appeared in ads that ran in local newspapers.

I have been to Pittsburgh myself over a decade ago. So it was fun for me to see images of the city that jogged my memory, too.

Sometimes I show Gayle and my other friends in skilled nursing photos from my camera: pictures of my kids, meals I've cooked, the trees experiencing the change of seasons, or my dog getting into some kind of mischief.

Limited mobility and constraints on transportation keep some of my friends confined to a skilled nursing facility. My smart phone helps me bring more of the world to them.  As a trained artist, Gayle is particularly attuned to visual stimulation. Seeing photographs always dramatically improves her energy levels and lifts her mood.

Now that I've used the phone a few times to bolster conversations, I feel encouraged to use my Droid more often as a dynamic slide show or a pocket-sized film projector. I might next show film clips or television performances from days gone by. Maybe the next time I visit Gayle, we can watch Elvis shakes things up on the Ed Sullivan Show.

1 comment:

  1. Love the photo. I had hoped you'd be writing about a fantastic new way to organize your slides. I'm spending hours organizing my print photos. As a photo journalist, I have thousands of print and digital photos. I haven't started on my slides yet.