We were a 'photo content' generation
My parents made sure that they captured every little moment of our childhood in pictures. Birthdays, fancy dress competitions, vacations, play dates...everything is kept safe in an old, brown-coloured suitcase in our home. So, each time I visit them I dedicate an evening to re-live the moments, whilst having a good laugh. Ask anyone and they'd agree that the ‘90s were a bad time for fashion. Growing up in a 'let's capture it in a frame' family had many pluses, of course, however, it also asked of us to wait patiently for the camera roll to be deposited and processed at the studio. The process usually took anywhere between a week and ten days, and it was only once we had carefully arranged the pictures in the albums could we declare that the vacation was a success.
Yes, it was not very long (even though it seems so) ago when we owned photo albums. They were filled up with images of people, who mattered. Once we'd clicked a picture, there was little we could do with it — other than placing it in an album or tucking it away between the pages of a favourite book. Editing, deleting, adding a filter to it was unheard of, and so we lived happily with our skin colour showing just as it was. We were a photo-content generation.
Call it a family tradition, but I continue to be a picture fanatic. Of course, the instant smart world has assured that none of us has to wait for the results, but still, somehow I miss the smell of old pictures (more than the smell of books). Digital pictures come without a price tag: they are easy to share and like as well. Yet, they fail to charm me. So, every now and then I treat myself to colour ink cartridges and photo-paper — diligently, I scour through the Photostream on my iPhone and print out the selected few.
Do they smell as good? No. But, it does help me create a tangible memory in the age of selfies and wefies (a photo taken in the same fashion as a selfie, but with two or more people). Perhaps, there is still time before ‘photos’ are declared a vintage item. It’s indeed time to stop by and ask ourselves if we are erasing memories in the process too. After all, our smartphones do come loaded with the 'Select All Items: Delete' option.
This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.