We’ve been doing a lot of heave-ho-out-you-go of late. And my word how wonderful it has been. Admittedly it requires skipping over, or even better limbo-ing under the emotional rope we tend to attach to possessions, but once done, it’s a free for all.
Photos have been a biggie. Over the years we have accumulated many, filling boxes and albums that spend their time being transported from house to house as we move. As we opened them there were some real treasures, and equally there were many which kind of had us wondering what on earth we were thinking, where on earth is that place, and good grief that can’t possibly be me and best you get that shredder out NOW!
Glasses, now there’s a thing. For anybody who wears specs you’ll know the agony of choosing a new pair. You do your best when squinting into a mirror as you try endless frames on, asking the assistant “is this me” and equally telling her “no-way, I look like my great-grandmother from 1702.” And then you decide. You collect the new pair and welcome the positive comments from friends and family, and generally feel good about having your photo taken. FOOLISH! Have you taken a look at yourself in all those old photos and not asked yourself how anybody could have let you settle on that pair?
In my case there is photographic evidence of many major fails in the goggles department. My face is quite small, so how I ended up with a frame more suited to an elephant beggars belief. Then there are the pairs with wonky shaped arms, they sort of start at your ear, take a right angle to the left and then another angle back up where they attach to the lens section. I’ve had the John Lennon shape that only JL should ever have worn, and dare I admit to the funny colours and oddly placed bling choices. Body shudders at the thought. Well I don’t need to expand too much on where those photos ended up do I?
The interesting thing though is how the photo has changed over the years. Hubby was a keen photographer in his youth, creating his own dark room to fiddle with his lens and all. From here we had quite a few, shall we say, interesting images, large and small, black and white and far too many girlfriends for my liking! Kidding of course, however they went into the shredder too. Cough, cough. We also had a lot of the small square photos, again black and white with the occasional colour one. Gradually the size increased and more became colour, and with this change so they were handed in at a 24 hour development point, before being returned in a long envelope with a ream of negatives for further development.
Then of course came digital. And with that we had photo explosion. We seemed to have taken hundreds of images, of the same thing, from every possible angle under the guise of can be deleted later, yet rarely were. And each time, all were printed, supplying us a wedge of photos to keep any door open in a typhoon. The rubbish dump of Cape Town is probably sprinkled with glossy celluloid flowers and historical places, and quite a lot of faces we have no idea of who they are. There’s quite a number of animals too. During one visit to Bushman’s Kloof a particular Zebra was photographed from the rear, front, side and then all over again. They hit the bin too.
We must have run out of money then, because we stopped printing and copied to discs instead. Crickey, this lot weigh a tonne. The problem now is that as my laptop no longer comes with a CD drive, I have copied many onto memory sticks and backed them up to other places until I have so many duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates I can’t cope with finding anything I want anymore!
So which ones do I enjoy the most? The older ones, when the 35mm film was a requirement, when you had to finish a film and hope what you’d taken didn’t have Auntie Sue with a mouthful of marshmallows, or the dog raising a leg against Uncle Albert’s leg, as he coaxed the braai. The memories raised of my children are the without doubt the best. When they were small, exploring, laughing, cheering, growing, out with friends and family, toothless smiles at times, and badly cut hair, which I hope they’ll forgive me for at some point.
So photos have come and gone and we are left with only the special ones. We’re reasonably confident we will not be so eager to snap every raindrop or passing cloud in the future, concentrating instead on special moments alone. Will we be successful . . . time will tell, time will tell.