I grew up in the age of the photo album. Every family holiday, Christmas, christening; every time our paddling pool was out – is captured in a thick, padded album trapped behind this peeled back, plastic-protected, film.
The 70s and 80s were undoubtedly the ‘Age of the Album’
Hundreds of individual photos, sometimes annotated in blue, ball-point pen, definitely dated with historical accuracy are all preserved for future generations and they hold magical memories that transport us back immediately to that time.
The photo album is the legacy of Mums of the 70s and 80s.
My mum was the curator of the archives and now even though they live in the top of her wardrobe, she loves the albums and they bring us all such joy.
She features consistently throughout as well. Decades of snapshots charting so many different hair dos: perms, ‘colours’, bobs and highlights.
Batwing-sleeve jumpers, plastic beads and matching earrings that she loved and pinnies to protect her clothes when serving our tea. All documentated.
At no point is she absent. A kodak film held about 25 photos, I am guessing and she is in most of them and I treasure them.
When I consider my own photos as a mum, I hardly feature at all and my absence from our photos saddens me.
All my family photos live in our phones. Yes, I have taken the time to print a few for frames around the house but generally my equivalent of a photo album is swiping through my phone and to be honest it isn’t the same as the real thing.
But when I swipe, I realise how few of them actually include me.
I hate having my photo taken.
Unlike my mum, I can’t bear my photo taken and will go to great length to avoid it and if I do, it’s shoulders and neck upwards only, or I position a child infront of me. If fact, in years to come my children would have very few to actually remember me by.
The thought of someone snapping me and then plastering it, unedited all over social media for the world to judge horrified me.
Yet I watch my daughter, taking selfie after selfie; making loads of “Musically” clips every day and I adore them. I love the way she has no issue with how she photographs and doesn’t feel the need to grab the phone and check that it is ok.
There is something to admire about the selfie-taking teenagers. Yes, they may take too many for some people’s liking but they are not shrinking violets who fear public humiliation at the thought of uploading an unflattering angle on Facebook.
I love seeing my daughter taking a million selfies a day and I know I am ultimately denying her the same pleasure that my mum and she brings me with their nonchalant attitude to the photo.
I hope this will impact my son who also hates his photo taken and of course I have about six of him taken over as many years.
So, come Shrove Tuesday she can go for gold and snap me flipping pancakes and I won’t snatch the phone from her and make her delete them, I will print them regularly and create albums to live in the top of my wardrobe so in years to come she will get as much pleasure from see her mum grow as a woman, as I did mine.