Every time I visit my in-laws, they show me many old photographs from their photo albums. Photographs of their trips, old dogs, celebrations and special moments that they hold so dearly. Each photo album looks like a book of short story collections, narrating to me my husband’s childhood that I haven’t seen. Each of those photographs stands out in my memory. The way he dressed. The way he was celebrated on his 10th birthday.
I hold the edges of those photographs respectfully, without putting my fingerprints on them. They look precious to me, like those things that money cannot buy. There are photographs where my mother-in-law’s eyes are closed, my husband is looking away, or my father-in-law is not nicely dressed. Those photographs are not perfect. But they show me the essence and depth of a world that I would like to know and remember. They tell me honest stories.
Some of my friends change their Facebook profile pictures almost everyday and then they ask for validations. Pretty. Healthy. Thin. Beautiful. Amazing. Wonderful. Photogenic. Glowing. Awesome. They are common words used on almost every profile picture almost every day in the modern world.
People are taking their selfies everywhere: on top of the mountain, under a deep sea. In December during a whale watch trip, I found people trying to take their selfies there too, with whales behind them. Two years ago during a hiking trip, a friend posted his selfie, writing “So tired” because network was available only at the starting point. And there the photographs easily available on social networking sites nowadays lose dignity. They lie. They lie so many times. They don’t tell stories anymore because we are not experiencing real “cool breeze“, “great view from the top” , “whales in deep sea” anymore. We’re lost in posing for selfies, editing and finding good words to draw instant attention while forgetting the soul of a moment. We are always busy in painting a more beautiful version of ourselves for others and convincing them with our pouts and side profiles.
What would have happened if we did not have the world of social networking to share our photographs? If we were not using photography for getting flying opinions on our beauty, travel, experiences? We would have had our private albums with photographs of our world, not tweaked, not airbrushed, not filtered, not over-saturated. Only memories in them. An eye half-open, giggling, carefree people living real moments in them.
My mother flips through my childhood albums when she misses me, “Photographs are like time machines. They can take you where you want to go, miles and years away. They are your private memories on paper. When you share them, you share a slice of your own memory with others.”
I agree with her. Sometimes I try to capture memories. I want my children to know that I had bad hair days; in winter I always gained extra pounds because I ate a lot; sometimes I had pimples but I did not hide them; I looked tired but happy after hiking seven miles and losing toe-nails. I was flawed. The world was not flawless too. Reality was never picture perfect. And my journey was deliciously memorable.
17th Day on A to Z Challenge. Today Q is for Quest.
Where do you find your inner selfie?