Saturday, 18 November 2017

IS THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE A 'PHOTO-FINISH' - OR IS IT MORE NEGATIVE THAN THAT...?



In an age where just about every new mobile 'phone has a built in camera, younger readers may find it hard to believe that cameras were once not considered essential items, and were, in fact, regarded as a bit of a luxury.  It's only in relatively recent years that people seem to have developed (no photographic pun intended) a need to document their life story by taking constant photos of themselves and their pals, as previous generations didn't give quite the same degree of thought to it.

My father owned an old Kodak Box Brownie in the '60s - at a time when they were considered 'old-fashioned' and far from state-of-the-art.  He never had a flash for it though (flashbulbs were too expensive), so took any photos out-of-doors - in the back garden when we were at home, and on or near the beach or out-and-about when we were on holiday.  And, looking back at the photos from over the years (including colour ones from when he got a new camera in the '70s), there aren't really too many of them.  Unlike today, photos were reserved for 'special occasions', and going from the paucity of pictures from my childhood, there can't have been too many of them.  (And several snaps have heads cut off, or dutch-tilt' angles like something from the '60s Batman TV show.) 

Perhaps the cost of processing was considered too expensive to take photographs willy-nilly, but I find myself wishing that there were more of them from my youth, and that some of them had been taken indoors.  The only interior one that readily comes to mind was taken by a visiting relative on their camera, and we were given a copy when the spool was developed.  I find myself fascinated by such photos for the glimpses they give of long-vanished furniture, ornaments, wall-hangings and the like, and wish I had more of those 'windows into the past' so that I could luxuriate in the self-indulgent pastime of revisiting former homes and neighbourhoods from my period of residence.

What about yourselves, readers?  Do you lament the fact that your early years were not more extensively recorded for posterity, or was a member of your family a keen 'shutterbug' who snapped just about everyone and everything around them?  Is there one particular incident or special occasion in your life that was never photographed, but that you dearly wish had been?  Feel free to tell your fellow Criv-ites all about it in our scintillating comments section.

13 comments:

-3- said...

What photos there were have been destroyed. I don't think that there are more than a dozen or so photographs of me outside of school portraits and state license photos.
Combine that with the old brain deterioration and the previously mentioned scattered distances and my past becomes a very intangible thing.
Funny thing, though - rather than photographs of those past days, i'd rather have scans of the old artwork. That would probably actually link me to more memories.

Lionel Hancock said...

It's good looking at old photos. Having your photo taken was a big thing back then. Even the lady at the very back on the other side of the road in the top photo was looking at the camera. Click

Kid said...

I like having photos, objects, and art, 3 - call me greedy. As for brain deterioration - I've got that in spades, so you're not alone.

******

Yeah, funny that, isn't it? Nobody would pay the slightest bit of attention to someone taking a photo nowadays. LH. (Unless it was a creepy-looking guy outside a primary school.)

Colin Jones said...

My parents were married for 12 years before having any children and during that time photography was my father's hobby and he developed his own photos - there were lots of photos of my mother taken during that time. When I was born he had a new subject to photograph so there were lots of baby photos of me - but when I was about two years old my father sold his camera - he bought another one in 1981 when I was 15 but by then my childhood years had passed.

Kid said...

So your childhood ended up in The Twilight Zone, eh, CJ? That's a shame, 'cos it's nice to look at old photos from time-to-time. True, memories reside in the mind, but photos enable us to remember with greater clarity.

-3- said...

Now you've got me thinking about this. A handful of those old childhood photos were scanned at one point, and might be on old data disks or currently unused drives. I think a hunt might be in order.

As you said, what photos there were come from special occasions of some sort, not the modern "this is what i'm wearing to breakfast this morning" type. Pics were of things like Easter outfits, fish caught, costumes worn, me with a bottle of scotch in my high chair, graduating to wine in a glass at 7, etc.,.

Funny thing is, as cameras have grown more prevalent, i seem to have become harder to photograph. It's taken about 30 years for those previously mentioned dozen or so photos to be taken, and a third or more of them were rather unavoidable - best man at wedding, game manual photos, and the like.
Of course, that doesn't count modern government surveillance cameras. But we don't get those photos.

Kid said...

One of my friends, who's now bald and is a bit overweight, had no photos at all of himself as a younger man outside of his wedding album. I'd taken a handful of pics of him when we were down in Portsmouth in 1985 (35 years ago -gasp), so I put them on a data disc for him, and his wife had them enlarged and printed on photo-stock paper, where they now hang, framed, in the hallway of their house. She was thrilled to see him again in his prime, when he was slim and had hair. I think he was pleased to be reminded of what he once looked like, while at the same time saddened that he no longer looked the same.

Good luck in tracking down those photos.

Anonymous said...

I have a few photos from when I was younger but would have been good to have more for instance more photos of Christmas and birthday presents. I'm like you when I look at old photos I'm always looking in the background at the décor even on olds movies. My uncle had a slide camera (I think that's what it was called) where once a year or so we would have a photo night of holidays where the photos were projected on a screen for us. How times have changed.

Terence.

Kid said...

Yeah, if I was a parent, I'd take lots of photos of my kids at Christmas with their toys, so they could look back as grown-ups and say "Hey, there's that friction-drive rocket ship I had when I was 7". Wish there were some Christmas photos from MY childhood so that I could do that.

Philip Crawley said...

Likewise, I also hail from that generation where either the photos were taken by a relative who owned a camera when your family didn't or when we did have a camera there would be big gaps when no one bothered to use it. There were always the annual school class pics (there I am; third smudge from the left in the second to top row - hardly the same). I consider the camera to be the only true time machine, allowing a glimpse back into the past to a moment frozen in time. Memory is fine but is is such a selective and subjective function that cannot compare with an actual image from your life. I try to live in the moment but I do enjoy looking back at moments past and have in recent years gathered together and scanned all of the old family photos I could beg, borrow or steal. This current generation must be one of the most photographed in history!, and photos are so taken for granted that they are not as prized as they were back in the day and that shutter is pressed on way too many moments that really are not worthy of preservation!

Kid said...

Too true, PC. I featured three photos of our first dog, Prince, in a recent post (they were cropped for the post from larger photos), and if it weren't for them, I'd have nothing to remember him by. Apart from a couple of issues of MWOM that is. One from the day we got him, and another from the day we parted. The photos, of course, bring my memories of him into much clearer focus. Likewise with my old primary and secondary schools. I took extensive photos of them before they were demolished, and I can revisit them (and my past) whenever I like because of them. The camera is an amazing invention.

Dave S said...

I don't have a huge amount of pics from my childhood, and that doesn't especially bother me. What I do wish could be changed though is the quality of the photos I have - I have lots of family photos (one of which is from around 1908) that I'm very happy to have, I just wish the quality of the cameras back then had been better so I could see more detail of the photos and also in the backgrounds. A curious thing I've noticed is that the pics I have from the 1940s and 50s are actually much better quality than those from the 70s and 80s.

Kid said...

You'll probably find that the '70s photos were taken with a 110mm camera, DS. The ones I took on mine back then weren't exactly the sharpest images in the world. I wish not so many of our family photos weren't decapitated, angled, out-of-focus shots.

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