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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

18 January 2013

Picture Perfect

We were at three kiddie parties last weekend (I know, I know, my kids have better social lives than I do!) when a thought struck me: kids nowadays are excellent ‘posers’. They are used to us paparazzi-parents who chase their every move – click, click, clicking away as they do anything from licking a lollipop to sliding down a slippery dip. Picture-perfect grins in place, heads turned at just the right angle, they preen and pose for the camera. No awkwardness, no shying away from the lens. And straight after the photo is clicked, they chorus, “Can we see the photo, please?” Instant gratification.

Remember those days when cameras – point-and-shoot or SLRs – were reserved for special occasions? Birthdays, family picnics, Christmases, prize day at school... There was no digital-anything, so we played the waiting game. Wait patiently (cheeks hurting from all that forced grinning!) while the person clicking the photo positioned everyone just so, wait until the roll of film – 24 or 36 shots – was finished, wait for dad to take it to the Kodak photo lab (remember Studio Perfecta or Hill Studio?) to get developed, wait in anticipation for a week before we could collect the snaps...

And then prepare yourself for whatever you got: a cousin picking her nose; your brother making “horns” above your head; over-exposed photos; under-exposed photos; blurry shots, red-eye... and some truly picture perfect ones. These were put into their plastic sleeves of a photo album and pored over, year after year after year...

14 Feb 1978: Dad & Mum all dressed up for my uncle's wedding

Right now, I’m picturing the beautiful black & white photos of my parents’ wedding album and my own sepia-toned baby photos. And who can forget those family photos taken at make-shift “photo studios” at the Bandra Fair with their cheesy backdrops of tulips and alpine mountains? Memories and magic.

Dad, Jason, me and Mum; circa mid-1980s around Christmas (hence the long sleeves)

The only photos I print out these days are the few I post to my mum and dad of my kids every few months. The remaining six million-trillion-gazillion are idling in various hard-drives, USBs and memory cards, eating up space.

What’s with our need to capture every nanosecond of our lives on camera? Is it just because it’s so easy thanks to our smartphones? Or does our technology make us feel compelled to click? It’s almost as if, if you’ve not recorded it, it never happened.

So this year, I’ve decided to go easy on the photos; enjoy the actual moment as it unfolds in front of me. And to print six million-trillion-gazillion photos I’ve accumulated. It may take me the better part of the year, but I’m just going to grin and bear it.

What do you remember most about photos from the "olden days"? Do you ever print out your digital photos?


  1. Completely agree with you! We have to stay in the moment and take it all in without continuously clicking away!

    On a side note, love the old pics!

  2. So true. We take so many pics and treasure fewer moments.

  3. Thank you -- Chips of the old blocks !!!! God Bless--

  4. Lovely article Ali... love all your blogs. Keep it up.... makes we want to take out those old albums too.. Noeline

  5. This is so true! I remember going on holidays and taking the Kodak...then waiting impatiently for the developed snaps and hurriedly looking through the stack for the few special ones we had "hoped" would turn out well...and the experience of reliving the holiday all over again. Somehow that made it all so special. Today it's instant gratification and although its fun, the charm is somehow lost.


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