Close your eyes and imagine that the camera had never been invented and there were no such thing as photos. No pictures of famous historical leaders or inventors. No pictures of your grandparents. No pictures of your mother, father, siblings or your children. And, no pictures of you growing up. Not only would life be pretty dull without them, we would have a hard time remembering the past, understanding our history, and learning about our heritage.

Can you imagine not being able to view the portraits of the past Presidents? For example, portraits of Abraham Lincoln tell us about his character. His eyes are caring, his stature is noble, and we feel as if we know him. Or think about the importance of the portraits of civil war heroes. They tell a story and help us understand the leaders that helped shape America. Historical photos help us re-live important moments in history, and seeing the faces of historical figures make learning about it much more interesting.

Sure, if photos didn’t exist people would have continued to use illustrations as a means of preserving history. But the difference between an illustration and a photograph is that a rendering is an interpretation by the artist who creates it. A photograph is a true emotional representation of a moment in time. Photos are the best way to communicate what people were feeling. A good example is one of the most famous photos ever taken, the portrait of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square. This simple image expresses the elation that Americans felt after hearing that Japan surrendered to allies and WWII was ending.

Without vintage photos of our relatives, we would not have as good of an understanding of our heritage. Everyone has the natural desire to know where he or she came from. Family portraits of our relatives are fascinating to look at because they provide us with a glimpse back in time. We study them closely, the clothes they wore, the cars they drove, the expression on their faces, hoping to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

It’s important to carry on the tradition of family portraits. They allow us to bookmark a moment in time. They immediately bring us immense joy and satisfaction, and they will feed future generations’ desire to understand their history and heritage.

Ray Baldino continues the tradition by providing families with heirloom-quality family portraits.