Of new photographs and old…

On a humid Sunday afternoon in July, Mother had put him to the task of cleaning the old cupboard. It had now been put aside as he stumbled upon an old album of photographs. “Mom, who is this? And this? And that person behind Kaka?”

Every flip of the album leaves posed a new barrage of questions.

They were soon joined by father who was just up post his afternoon siesta (that he rarely got to enjoy).

The three were so immersed in the photographs, that they didn’t realise when twilight crept into the room and how quickly it faded and it was time to switch on the lights.

Had someone seen them, sitting together — huddled up over those photographs, looking at old memories, they surely would’ve taken a photo of them. But what then? It would lie in the device memory till it was full. Or go up on social media. Or be transferred to a portable hard disk. And get lost among the millions of irrelevant unnecessary repetitive images in colour, B&W, sepia, autumn, mayfair, X-PRO, X-PRO II and what not.

Many years later, their grandchildren wouldn’t huddle up like that over an album on a lazy afternoon and wonder who these people were and what they were doing.

The definition old photo then, would be a photo taken two years ago. Maybe three. Who would then look at the fifty year old photos of great grandfather dressed up for the photo-session in the old house in the village that was sold to a builder once the village became a thriving town?

Who would look at the many-decade old photos taken in marriages of the grandparents ?

Would anyone?

Would you?

Or would you just let them lie in the loft where old photos are spoilt beyond recognition. Or would you let them just be till there is nobody in the know who recognizes the smiling photos of the well dressed people in old houses.

Image by author. Also features the author. Damn!

Above is an attempt by hipsters at making a photograph look really old by digital means. To put it in perspective, the photo was captured after an Indo-Chinese meal at a restaurant named Icy Spicy.

I digress.

Maybe those really old photos will just vanish somewhere in the sands of time or the dust in your loft. But the photos you take today, will not. Sixty years later after you’ve died a peaceful death, maybe your grandchild will open up your Facebook profile to see what you were like when you were twenty-five.

And they’ll laugh at the immature status updates you posted.

And they’ll Like your profile picture where you’re actually posing but want it to seem candid. #nofilter

But it still wouldn’t replicate the charm of poring over old photo albums with characters who have started fading away from the photos and your memories too. Sitting together as a family and trying to remember who the lady in the green saree was. Or the old man in the old house smiling proudly for the photograph.