I was a teen in the 90’s and this means I didn’t have a camera with me all the time. Cameras were rarely pulled out of the drawer in the living room and film was expensive to buy and develop.
I remember my Grama’s freezer had quite a few rolls of film in little black cylinders.
One day on a whim I got them all developed. I can’t even remember what was on them — why is that you wonder? Because without taking a photo of that moment, I don’t remember it.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of memories but they are memorable for a reason. Before digital cameras and iPhones, ordinary moments were not considered fodder for fine art.
Even now as I type this I have an itch to do an image search for “rolls of film in a freezer”. But why is something that banal worthy of capturing? Why do you need to see it? Are you not capable of imagining what rolls of film in a freezer looks like?
As I said, I have few pictures of me as a teen. I definitely don’t have pics of my friends, my first car, my date for grade 12 graduation or any selfies.
I didn’t have a camera as a teen. I used those photo booths at the mall. Here’s one that I did when I was 17.
I only had one photo like this and I gave it to my mom who luckily kept it and sent me a digital copy.
All this to suggest that perhaps not all moments in life are photo-worthy, and that it’s ok to not be able to remember them all. It might be ok to have parts of our lives that are undocumented.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to take a photo, did it really happen?