I did a job I do about once a decade the other day; I changed the photos in my photo frames. It’s an onerous task that has about as much appeal as cleaning the barbecue or filling in school forms because you have to be a maths genius to work out how to print the photos to the exact size of the frames – just me?
In the old days, before digital photography, the process happened much more regularly because once the photos were developed, you had a hard copy in your hands that you had to file somewhere and it was much easier to shove them in a frame than carefully place them in an album.
Which is why it’s so sad now, in these modern times, when every one of us is an aspiring amateur photographer, that we so rarely take the time to look through our photographs.
The new house really needed an injection of colour and and soul into its rooms due to their high ceilings and metres of stark white wall space, and I’ve been unable to hang most of our artwork because it is framed and too heavy, so photos have been my saviour. We’ve learned from previous rental properties that those new-fangled sticky hooks can be about as fickle as me and can cause thousands of dollars in damage if they fail their mission above a timber floor.
I love photographs as a visual recorder of our lives and I, too, am an avid amateur photographer – in part because I enjoy the creative process and partly because when I lost my mum there were so few photos to tell her story beyond those of her wedding day. I decided that I would never let that happen to my kids.
I’ve carefully recorded each of their milestones, from Kurt’s passion for wearing NC’s school dresses to NC’s formals and rock discoveries and the Princess’s first puppy vomit – because it was just so sweet.
But the idea of going back through our digital albums always makes me feel strangely melancholic and unsettled, which may have something to do with the distance and accessibility to the close family and friends that so many of our photos transport me back to, or it may simply be because I don’t really like looking back.
Although I am moving forward in certain ways. This time, instead of searching for the best photos of the kids to put out on display in the house – something that is nigh on impossible when they demand final approval and since Kurt has chosen to shave his head for the past two years and looks like an escaped convict – this time I found myself searching out photos of close friends and extended family, and those special occasions we’ve shared over the years on recent trips back to the UK.
Family is wonderful and their love is unconditional (hopefully), but your friends can choose to be in or out of our lives and if they’ve hung in there through all the ups and downs, surely they’ve earned their spot on the mantelpiece?