Reminiscing Childhood: The Picture Taking Way.
Childhood came with its own adventures as well as its own celebrity moments, and that was taking pictures.
We scheduled appointments with the photographer as one would with a doctor. The appointment with the photographer was indispensable; not many possessed the flashing device called camera. Thus we had not the luxury to choose from whom we'd want our picture taken. If your parents were known in the small town, in the sense that they were important figures, you could be guaranteed that the photographer will show up upon their requests. But even then, there was still that task, almost another kind of errand to go pursue the photographer in order to remind him. As my parents would put in as a matter of necessity, the photographer's busy schedule could make him forget the request placed in by them.
We never took pictures anyhow. At least the scarcity of photographers made this sure. And it was not a risk one would intentionally make to appear not properly dressed in a picture, that'd be a bad investment. And so pictures were not taken just on any day or just anywhere. Times mostly after Sunday School (church service for kid's) were not only preferable but appropriate; such days saw as bathed and dressed, in other words ready. Besides Sundays were school days but taking pictures on actual school days in our uniforms were blessings that didn't happen so often, or those never-to-forget-moments of surprise that came with a thousand grins. Leave out days where we went on Independence march. But even taking pictures on such memorable days did not happen often.
Our eagerness and readiness to take pictures showed in the unnatural patience we exhibited in waiting for the photographer to show up, or rather going after him to drag him home by older siblings. It may not seem so much as patience if you'd consider the anxiety and worry we had hid in our minds, which soon could turn into disappointed looks when the photographer was taking too long to come. But how else will you describe it when, on a picture-taking-Sunday, we would still be in our church clothes long after the children's service at 9 am, ready only to take them off after the photoshoot? Such resolution meant we didn't mind waiting till 3 pm or later.
For what we chose as background for most of the pictures, need I say it? Since our picture taking days we've never lost touch with the green part of nature. They always stood behind us like parents on Speech and Prize Giving Days. Other colours of plants and flowers featured but there were mostly green. Most of these scenery however came upon the photographer's recommendations. Somehow, possessing those lightening flashing devices alone made them revered, they were not be challenged much. And we put faith in them, our Picassos and Van Gohs who held digital canvases. The older ones could throw in some other options if the green was becoming too much, but never we the younger ones. And options were really that few. If it wasn't a plant it sure was to be a building.
In the town I grew up, it takes a walk of about 10 minutes to come upon water that flows, these are brooks we went in to get water for domestic use. We had and even now have no large rivers or lakes and this means picture taking in boats, canoes, ships were stuff that only happened to people on TV, not in our real world. The bush and buildings remained. The bush we had in reliable abundance but not really so for the buildings, that is if you have to consider picture worthy ones. Bungalow, (for such was how we improperly called it) was a well walled self-contained appartments belonging to the affluent brothers of the town but used by nobody, for the memories that would be worth it, was only occasionally opened for pupils graduating Junior Secondary School on the graduation day. Besides this seemingly only opportunity, you must have some diplomatic connection with the Security man before you can be allowed entrance on any day other than graduation day. I received such honour when graduating Junior Secondary School.
Put Bungalow aside and you have abrosan ase. The storey building that almost occupies the center of town. It's two major colours of deep brown and light brown akin to our public school uniforms is one I can hardly get out of my mind. You move on in the options of choosing building for your photoshoot and you'll think of the school buildings themselves or the church edifices. The Catholic edifice was loftiest and closest too to home it received the most selection. Of course there were enough buildings in the whole town that favourably passed for picture taking, I mention these as they were the dominant ones within the limited scope of my childhood.
Taking pictures was one flashy moment, waiting for them to come was another. The photographer had to go and 'wash' them. We had no idea how these 'washing' of pictures were done or how long it took to get a picture 'washed.' It must be a tiring task to wash all these photos, so we imagined, judging by how long it took for the 'washed' pictures to be brought. But finally after a week or two of wild anticipation, Mr. Cinder, who was our most reliable and talented photographer, and by far the best with enough experience, shows up with the photos. With all of our wild anticipations and great expectations we never get to see them first. One typical scenario of picture delivery day will be like this: pictures first go from Mr. Cinder's hand to my mother's hand along with all of his good remarks. She takes them with the smile of a hundred suns, passes her judgements on them then passes them on to older siblings who neither spare scalding and soothing comments for whoever destroyed or brightened the picture respectively. Little ones, that's us, waiting down below the pecking order only needed to wait and pray. Before we finally get to see our faces, our confidence would have been done a great boost or boot by the picture assessing gods with their comments, nonetheless it was still worth it.
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