“I can’t believe how young dad and you look in this picture”, I tell my mother while turning the pages of my parents’ wedding album. There’s something surreal about physical photographs etched in old albums.
Looking at one of these pictures instantly transports you to that time and makes you feel the same feeling you did when you experienced that moment. Sometimes they help you connect with moments and times that you did not even witness.
An even better experience comes from looking at sepia toned pictures with tattered edges that have captions written in a distorted handwriting. These pictures usually belong to our grandparents and great grandparents.
They are reflective of a time which was simpler, older and poles apart from the one in which we live now.
“Nani, how old were you in this photo?”, I ask my grandma as I look at one of her college years pictures in which she’s playing basketball. “I was I think 18”, she gives me a paused response.
Photographs and physical pictures are reminders for us that our lives have been documented, perhaps permanently. Every stage of life, every milestone, achievement has been carefully curated and preserved in the tea coloured pages of photo albums.
For 90s kids like me, the ‘Baby Book’ was kind of a big deal. I certainly had one. My parents had meticulously collected photographs, hand and foot prints and documented my growth and baby milestones in it.
As narcissistic as it sounds, I love going through that baby book, rather love going through all my baby pictures.
Our generation was perhaps the last generation to have actual photo albums dedicated to us that consist of all our baby pictures and growing up years.
Today, photos are found more on the other side of screens. Photographs are saved and preserved in the same device as they are clicked from.
A simple Apple Air Drop or WhatsApp forward is what determines the extent of their dissemination. Instagram and Facebook are the new photo albums of the 21st century.
The coming generations and the generation of the centennials, will never know what it’s like actually holding a photo in your hand or collectively going through a photo album as a family.
They will never see the dried tear drop at the edge of an old photograph and will never see a small love note at the bottom of the picture.
They’ll perhaps be the first set of people, in generations to come and take forward to not have their baby pictures physically documented, to not have a baby book.
However, there might be some people who’d like to still have their photographs developed and stored, but the question is how many?
Image Source: Google Images
Find the blogger at @janhaviiisharma
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