A sense of occasion

In a previous post, I wrote about not being much of a photo taker and that my favourite photos are the imperfect ones; the ones that capture life as it unfolds, rather than life working to a script. In today’s world of the camera phone, it can be hard to remember there was a time when taking a photo – or having your photo taken – was something of a big deal.

While I’m not from the same vintage as this old black and white photo, I did grow up in the era of the film camera. Although the cost to buy and develop the film was quite affordable, the camera itself was a reasonable investment for our family, which meant that it only really came out for Christmas, birthdays or family holidays. And then when it did come out, there was a limit as to what could be photographed and how many ‘goes’ one would have at taking the photo (the ‘one’ usually being my mother).  

I do feel grateful to be living at a time when convenient and low-cost phone cameras mean that we – by which I mean someone other than me! – can capture everyday life in a way that previous generations couldn’t. And not only can we capture it, but we can have as many ‘goes’ as we need to get just the right shot.

But then when I come across an old photo like this, I do miss the sense of occasion that accompanied getting the family camera out, because as still and unnatural as this couple may be, this is a photo that really does speak a thousand words.

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