Pale Memories of the Photo Album

Pale memories of the photo album



Photo albums take away a lot of storage space in my home. No, no, I ain’t complaining. I am being boastful. I love photo albums. Yes, even today, in an age where digital rules the pivotal, I couldn’t care less. For me, any day, an old, dog-eared album, maybe with a couple of silver fishes, snaking through it, gives me a high that cannot even remotely compare with its .jpeg contemporary.


At best, the digital version appeals to me because as soon as I capture something on a digital camera, I can view it right there…a habit that irritates my hubby endlessly. After each time he clicks, I run up to him and peep into the camera saying, “show, show”. Once I have seen it this way, I am satiated, and rarely see it again.


Unlike many others I know, I insist on getting my digital photos printed, preferably in matt finish, post card size or even larger, and placed in an exclusive album. Then, I make little notes on the inside of the album – dates, places visited, and not to forget the amusing, tongue-in-cheek captions to go with each photo! All this, for a delectable aftertaste. I find this activity so very cathartic!


I fondly remember what I had read some place: “A person is neither whole nor healthy without the memories of photo albums. They are the storybook of our lives. They provide a nostalgic escape from the tormented days of the present.”


Storybook of our lives! I love this phrase.


Sadly, today the photo storybook is almost completely replaced by the savvier, state-of-the-art CD – Compact Disc. But hey, not everything in life can be Compacted! Technically yes, but emotionally, at a subliminal level, a big NO!


In the hazy distant past are evenings when guests (read relatives) would come over and the photo albums would make an appearance. Perched reverently on the lap of the most elderly in the group, the album would unfold a carefully scripted drama…while other family members found strategic view points…to partake in vicarious pleasures. The album always lived up to its promise of great bonding. The album always had and will continue to have an instant replay quality that, I bet, no technology can nudge out.


Often, people do not even copy their digital photos on to a CD! The photos remain forgotten in the camera, or in their cell phones, or at the most, are copied into a folder on a laptop/PC. The photos just sit there, waiting forlornly for the day when people can pore over them with drooling memories. Then, sharing such photos with others when they visit your home is painstaking. You have to get the laptop out or pass around your cell phone…Well, for the more socially uplifted, you could always share it on Facebook…and draw a dozen ‘likes’!



On one hand, there is the mouse click. And on the other is the feel of turning the thick album page with your fingers; the feel of the thin plastic sheet that gently clings to the precious memory beneath. And of course, who can forget the feel of softly inserting your finger under the plastic sheet to free it of the dampness that gets collected over time?


Sigh! I wonder, am I penning an ode in praise of the photo album, or, am I inscribing an epitaph?




Posted on January 5, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I love photographs. I always thought that the digital camera spoils us. dont like a snap – delete it ….you are no longer wasting a roll. Too many snaps taken on every occasion big and small. Earlier with there were few snaps on special occasions only and that gave those photos their exclusivity. Do I sound old fashioned and digitally challenged?

  2. Good!!

  3. Maneesha Bhosale

    My memories are in my heart. I wonder if i need a photo album to remember them…..

  4. Hi Lata,

    two days back you had targeted Kannan… Today a poor photographer who earns his living by making big fat photo albums… Who is next..

    Thank god you still use computers..

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