Pictures are worth a thousand words

Published 9:23 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend celebrating my birthday with my twin sister.

As per tradition, we went to a series of musicals and concerts, exchanged presents, indulged in fancy cheesecake and eventually had dinner with our family.

My mom, being the photo lover that she is, insisted on taking pictures. She loves to document everything (maybe that’s where my passion for journalism comes from), and when it comes to pictures, she has a few traditions of her own.

One of those traditions is a particular pose she loves to make us stand in, and while we roll our eyes and grumble every time she requests we assume the position, it’s sort of funny to look back at the product of her infatuation.

In boxes, albums and picture frames throughout my mother’s house, there are scores of photos of Jasmine and I standing back to back, her on the left and me on the right. This is a simple pose that plenty of siblings have stood in and said “cheese” for the camera, but when you line all the photos up, it makes for a pretty neat timeline.

We have pictures of us in diapers, barely old enough to stand, our first day of kindergarten, when we got our braces in fourth grade, our senior prom, our first and last days of college and even in a giant professional portrait that hangs in my mother’s living room — all with us standing or sitting back to back.

When we put the series of photos together, we can look at how much we’ve grown and changed throughout the years, but also how much we’ve stayed the same. We can see that no matter how old we get, Jasmine has always been exactly an inch and a half taller, that we part our hair on opposite sides and naturally tilt our heads in opposite directions and that no matter how different our hair and clothing styles are, our eyes have always been exactly the same shade of green.

We can also see that Jasmine has never been able to stick with a hair color for more than six months, that my klutzy self has gained more and more scars as the years pass and that our face shapes gradually changed, helping people who look closely tell us apart.

I’d like to take a similar approach to a project I’m working on for Horizons this winter and I’d love your help with it.

As we continue our “treasure hunt” to create our biggest publication of the year, I’ll be searching for old photographs that I can recreate to show similar transformations. Just as my mom has recreated the same photo over and over again the last 25 years to show how we changed (or stayed the same), I plan to find and recreate images to show how much our communities — and the people in them — are different or similar to how they were years ago.

If you have any old pictures of places, people or objects that still exist in Niles, Buchanan, Cassopolis, Dowagiac or Edwardsburg, I’d love to see them and work to recreate them. If you’ve been taking your own series of photos, I’d love to see those, too!

You can email me at, or come into the office at 217 North Fourth St. in Niles, and I can scan them and give them back to you.

As we celebrate 35 years of Horizons and several other milestones in our community, I’m excited to line up these photos and see exactly how much our hometowns have grown.


Ambrosia Neldon is the managing editor at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7713, or by email at