Pressing Print

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When I was at uni my room was covered in photos. A montage of memories and a mash-up of friendship circles, nights out, gigs and camping trips. Just looking at that wall used to cheer me up as I faced a glum deadline or was missing friends who were on campuses at other ends of the country. It was only when I recently transferred our holiday pics to my computer that I realised with a strange feeling of guilt that my initial reaction to dumping the files onto my Desktop was to then do a bulk upload to Facebook and create a new album. Not entirely a bad thing, Facebook has become the place where we dip in and out of each other’s lives with a swipe of the finger or a double tap. Much better than an after-dinner slideshow presentation of various angles of cactus plants or our beach buggy road trip.

But still.

I would rather my first reaction to be to order prints to be delivered, archive them in a real touchy-feely, chunky album. Have it for years to come on a shelf for a rainy Tuesday evening, to leaf through actual photographs with inky scrawled writing on the back with names, dates, places and exclamation marks. My parents’ house is teeming with photos, their kitchen door is our wall of fame, from first steps and fancy dress, to graduation, barbeques and birthdays. Each photo competing for space but each face beaming or squinting into the sunlight, sometimes blurry where one of us moved before the camera had snapped. Christmas jumpers and corduroys, dungarees and baggy hoodies, wetsuits and Easter bonnets, mark our family’s history and I love soaking it in whenever I’m home.

In those years down the lane I want my future children to inherit tomes of our travels and have that shared experience of crowding around a sofa and laughing at haircuts and board shorts. I don’t want them to inherit passwords and security questions and number of likes.

So that’s that. I’ve ordered prints and I’m making an album and I’ve made myself a little oath to not rely on a digital wall but to actually make these happy times and small moments of blissful light actual real physical things, on bookshelves and mantelpieces.

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