My old university roommate once said something to me that was so brilliant, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
He said, “Paul, do you want to go to McDonald’s?”
He didn’t have to ask me twice, especially when The Golden Arches was staring at us from outside our window.
Alright, that’s not the brilliant quote. It was this:
“I have a 2000-word essay to write. I should just draw two pictures, each one is worth 1000 words.”
I feel like we are in the era of photography, yet photo albums are out of style. I’m talking about physical photo albums that you hold in your hands and flip through slowly, pausing to point at specific pictures and recalling memories from them.
Remember that? You must.
Now, I’m sure a lot of you are probably already heading down to the comments section to say, “Oh silly Paul, I still put photos in photo albums!”
Alright, great. But I don’t think the majority of people do that anymore.
Their photo album exists on their phone. There is no elongated gaze at a variety of photos. There is a glance at one and then a flick of the finger to scroll to the next one.
Take a bad photo? No problem. Take another one. Heck, spend 20 minutes taking a one person photo shoot.
That is the era we live in.
There is no, “Hey, let’s ask this non-threatening-looking stranger to take a picture of us.”
There are long arms, selfie sticks, and crooked necks.
There is no, “I hope my grandparents – who have never used a camera before – know how to frame the photo properly. I guess we’ll find out when the photos are developed.”
There are prayers.
It’s a different world than it was fifteen years ago, heck even ten years ago. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’m just pointing it out.
Though a small part of me does miss photo albums. The way the order of each photo tells the story.
Sometimes I’ll flip through the photo albums from my childhood and I can see myself grow up. I can look at the time stamp on the photo and see how old I was.
I always thought my first memories started when I tripped over a hula-hoop on my first day of kindergarten – just a few days after my 4th birthday. I was wrong.
There are pictures of me doing things as a three-year-old that I’ve always had memories of but was never able to place when they occurred.
And sure, in the future people can look at the date on their phone to see when they took a photo but it doesn’t feel the same.
There’s a difference.
Every photo we take with our phone doesn’t feel that important. It’s not like we have a certain amount of film and have to pick and choose which moments are worth remembering.
Hey, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good we can take pictures of absolutely every second of every day. But are we taking photos of things we want to remember, or are we taking photos of things we didn’t catch with our own eyes the first time around?
I’ve been to so many sporting events in my life and ever since I’ve had a phone that’s able to take pictures, I always feel the need to take a photo of the arena or stadium. Multiple pictures. I don’t know why I do this.
Sure, part of the reason is to post a picture on social media, but after a while, how many times do I have to take the same exact photo I took the last ten times I attended a game?
I don’t use these photos for anything. They just sit on my phone until I muster up the courage to delete them,
but I don’t because I’m secretly a mild hoarder.
We all have a profile picture here on WordPress. For most of us, it’s a picture of ourselves. But not just any picture. It’s a picture we like and deem suitable enough for others to see. We judge it before others do.
And then those photos sit there.
I’ve had the same profile picture on here for four years. I don’t look like that anymore. Then again, I’ve been told I look different in every photo I take so that photo was outdated about three days after I posted it.
It’s weird, though. I see people’s profile pictures – not just on here, but all over social media – and I imagine that person to be making that exact same pose at every single moment. It’s how I know them.
Oh, this person is smiling. That must be what they’re doing right now.
Oh, this person is dressed professionally. They are probably really busy right now.
Oh, this person is milking a cow. They must be in the middle of that right now.
And so on. I know, it makes no sense, but the profile picture I see is the person I picture in my head.
As bloggers, we know each other by our words and our picture and then formulate a conclusion on who that person is.
Just a heads up, my profile picture was taken moments before I went to
go sweat at a wedding. So if you’re thinking I’m this very important person who wears a suit every day, I’m not.
I don’t think I’ve worn a suit since then. That was four years ago.
I know for a fact that suit no longer fits me. I’ve lost about 12 pounds since that photo. I’m not always clean shaven. My hair isn’t perfectly straight across my forehead anymore. I’m not sitting here with a charming fake smile.
My profile picture is not my current self.
But it’s a photo of me. So that’s good enough, right?
And this is where photos on social media can lie. They don’t always tell the whole truth. For every photo that is shared, there are probably twenty others sitting in the deleted folder on someone’s phone.
Photos have to be perfect, not necessarily real.
I flip through my old photo albums and the photos in them are real, but not necessarily perfect, even though we probably all said “cheese” at the same time.
That’s the difference.
If you’re curious, that is a current photo of me. I go the humour route with a lot my social media photos. It’s a niche not enough people are in right now
because people aren’t as funny as they think.
I’m working on a new catchphrase: “I put the ‘funny’ in ‘pretty funny'”. Let me know what you think.