Gone are the days when you returned from your holidays with one or two rolls of film ready to be sent off for developing. Patiently waiting several days for them to return to the shop or drop through your door – 24 glossy prints, 7 by 5 (if you chose the upgrade) and of course your envelope of negatives. Having loved photography from an early age this was a regular part of my life, but my photography was very different then was yours?
When you only had 24 or 36 shots to take you chose them very carefully and had to trust in your own skills to produce an acceptable shot! I took mostly photographs of people preferring to keep memories of family and friends and bought postcards of the views (at one point there were 3000 postcards under my bed!). There were levels of success, bad lighting, over exposure, accidental comedy shots when you hadn’t properly checked the background or, if you have a daughter like ours, when you caught her about to fall in water – any water, in fact most water made friends with Lucy at some point!
Old enough to have lived when the world was black and white and ‘polaroid’ style was cutting edge, we are lucky to also have envelopes stuffed full of photos are parents took. Some made it into albums, most reside randomly stacked in a wicker basket, but they are always there to be picked up and looked at when you’re feeling nostalgic or if you just want reminders of a special time.
And when you lose someone you love, its time to find those smiling photos of them, to remind everyone of the time when they weren’t 89 and suffering from dementia; when they were the best dressed man on every holiday; when they did fall asleep in the most extraordinary places; weddings, babies, holidays…a night when the family feels sad is lifted by those memories shared and maybe forgotten. When Dad was just Dad. Photos with curling edges, fading away, maybe a bit out of focus, maybe with poor composition, but photos filled with love and joy and memories.
And now we live in a world of digital photography; the ability to take thousands of photographs providing you have enough space on your memory card; no need to just take one shot you can take ten and one will be the one you wanted. Not happy with the colours? There’s Lightroom and Photoshop and umpteen apps to help you improve your shots. Sunset a bit weak? Just tweak your exposure and up your saturation and you’ll soon have a photo worthy of any Instagram account.
And is it a joy to sort through 3000 photographs of your holiday? Which of the 20 shots of the seaview is the one to keep? Are there in fact any differences?
And my photography has changed. Has yours? No more returning from a holiday with 24 shots of smiling friends and family now I have thousands of shots of mountains and skies, wildlife and buildings. None make an album. Rarely are they printed. The elite few make it onto Instagram or twitter.
Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s just me, but I mourn the loss of the photo album and the nights spent watching Dad's slide shows with the clunky projector and screen. Dusty photos growing old in your house just waiting for someone to get them out to look at. Ours stop many years ago once we discovered digital photography.
But never have I had a camera that brings me so much pleasure in life, which leads to 3000 photographs from a holiday. Photos of great natural beauty, close ups of wildlife, macro shots of industrial items- no worrying about which shot you should choose to use one of your precious 24 on. Spending days when you return sorting through the thousands of photos – every one reminding you of what a wonderful time you had.
Maybe we should print more, start some albums, leave something for our grandchildren to laugh at instead of just leaving behind huge banks of photos stored and backed up on line. Will they last longer than the albums of ageing photos?
But in the meantime there’s the annual family comedy calendar to laugh at (our ‘grown ups’ still managing to entertain us despite their age!), special days to capture and keep, holiday memories continuing to grow and even the fun of trying to recreate some of our older favourites. (Take a look at our special weekend in London!)
Oh and let’s not forget it isn’t too long until our first Grandchild arrives - think we'd better invest in some more memory cards!
Holidays aren’t just about a break from work (as welcome as that is) they’re also about having a break from the norm as well, a chance to get out of the daily routine and, in a way, live a different style of life for a while.
This year our roadtrip saw us clock up the amazing total of half an hour of watching TV in 10 days. Since we came back we’ve watched about 20 minutes or so every night as we have actively switched off and in the words of the 1970’s kids TV show “gone and done something less boring instead.” (If this doesn’t ring any bells go and Google “Why Don’t You”).
So what’s going on? Well, we aren’t quite sure. Maybe it’s some sort of backlash against a seemingly never ending outpouring of nonsense these days where there isn’t really any news anymore just people’s opinions being put forward accompanied by a lot of shouting. We’ve never been huge reality TV fans either – Love Island – never watched a single second of it and we very rarely watch much sport either.
Time for the TV to go and break out the Scrabble and macrame? Hardly. We do watch TV, or more accurately when it’s on its either Netflix or Amazon that is the automatic choice, catching up with a series or film. No ads and at a fraction of the cost of Sky. With the soon to be launched Disney Plus warming things up the model seems to very much be on subscription services so why do we stick with Sky?
We’ve no idea really and we are seriously looking at alternative internet and phone provision (the gogglebox is one thing but we can’t live without the internet and spotify!) and once we have got these sorted there could be a call going into Sky to say thank you and goodnight.
For now at least the TV is safe but how and what we watch, well that’s a different matter. Stay tuned….or maybe not as the case may be.....