An Ode to the Family Photo Album

For the first time, I cooked a full-fledged lunch – a three-course meal – for my family. And my first instinct was to click a picture and show it off on social media. As I grabbed my phone to click that perfect shot, I found myself thinking about my family photo album. Such a weird thing to think about, right? Be that as it may, it got me to write this piece. And I’m sure that after reading this piece, you’re going to dig through your stuffy storeroom to find that dust-covered photo album and walk down memory lane. 

The 21st-century family photo album is either Instagram or Facebook, depending on which social media platform you’re most active on. My father is very active on Facebook. So much so, he would pick out an old album, click pictures of the picture in the album, and upload it on his account with the words “Old is Gold”. That’s what the status of the family album holds in today’s world. 

As I write, I have an album of childhood memories beside me, almost chastising me for ignoring it for years. I scroll through the torn plastic pages of the book, and there’s an immediate flash of memories that run past my mind. Woah! The power of that one picture cannot be compared to my first Instagram post, I realised. And, oh damn, was I a cute baby! Oh shit, would you look at that? My young and beautiful parents, hugging each other with a sexy backdrop. Reality strikes! They’re growing old, and that makes me feel like time is passing by real quick. Reliving the memories of the past is way better than the dopamine rush I get when I see someone like my picture on Facebook. 

Also Read: Childhood Antics That Got Us Grounded

The family photo album is a blast from the past, but we have forgotten the value it once held. ‘Imperfectly perfect’ is the phrase I would associate with a photo album. We weren’t concerned about our looks. Rather, it was just about capturing that moment to forever cherish it. But now, whenever we click a picture, we look at what we’d describe as imperfections, and judge ourselves for it. It’s a never-ending loop of self-hate. The family photo album, on the other hand, is a testimony of a life that was. That memorable trip, cake-cutting, cake-smashing, old-fashioned style, naked baby pictures, and whatnot. The photo album had it all, and the child within us wish we could relive those moments all over again. 

Do you know what this reminded me of? The opening credit scene of Bangalore Days! One of the reasons we all responded and related to Nazriya, Dulquer Salmaan, and Nivin Pauly’s characters was the pivotal series of shots in the intro credits. The childhood pictures (clearly photoshopped) “to create a sense of shared space and memories” is what literally defines a photo album. In fact, banking on this very emotion is the reason why Facebook announced their new feature “Memories” – a place to view “On This Day” content. Based on their research, these memories positively impact the people viewing them, and have, therefore, worked for the platform. Do you see what I was talking about? Emotions! 

See, I am not bashing social media and the miracles of technology. In fact, social media is the reason we all are more connected than ever. But a family photo album would only give you a personal and emotional connection to your roots. So, today, just take some time out from scrolling through your phone and to skim through your old, family album. It’ll get you that peace of mind you’re searching for.

Aishwarya Gopinath
A foodie at heart, an aspiring novelist, and an enthusiastic writer by nature, I love to dig deep into culture and lifestyle of the place and people around me. I hope to make people cry, laugh, smile, angry, and satisfied with my writing.


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