Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Click, click, click and a few more!

It is with a sweet vengeance that I click and get clicked on our digital camera. I hold on to the little grey device that we own, so dearly and carefully, with just as much care as I handle my little daughter…well almost! Until the precious moments are transferred to the laptop, the camera treasures my present that I would love to present for posterity. Today I can capture all happy, stylish, formal, casual, mundane, busy, boring and random moments of my life with jolly ease. In particular, my little angel’s snaps are an invaluable fortune.

The hundreds of photographs that I managed to sort out into neatly labelled folders yesterday, remind me of days when we owned no camera, leaving most of my childhood days unrecorded. I clearly remember times when I envied my schoolmates who showed their wide collection of albums to everyone in the class. Vacations, festivals, house warming ceremonies, birthday parties, visits of uncles and aunts, pet dogs…they had them all clicked excitedly just as I do today.

The collection of snaps of those days when a camera wasn’t affordable or even fancied by elders to be owned is small but deeply cherished! Most of them were taken in a studio with plastic, unrealistic backgrounds and lack a sense of life and fun. In one of them I can be seen standing next to my little cousin, with funnily suppressed tears, don’t remember why though! The traditional, mandatory family snap with mom, dad and sister, all standing in almost attention position, with rigid, smile-less expressions. My parents’ close-up snap, taken by an artless studio photographer. I love the little assortment of my sister’s and my baby and toddler poses, once again courtesy a studio.

For my grandparents’ generation, photographs were a real rarity. A couple of dog-eared marriage photos, a treasured snap of babies especially when they reach the milestone of being able to turn on their tummies, and a grand but crowded photograph of the large extended-family, some of which were framed and hung in the living room. A eerie sadness swept me when my granny showed me with teary eyes the only available photo of her mom, taken just after she was brought out of the temple pond where she suffered a heart attack while bathing. She lies completely wet and dead. My granny was an only daughter and just eight years old then.

Back to me, not owning a camera meant a lack of a personal relationship with the clever device, not being in synch with its blinks and flashes, not being well-versed in posing and smiling, and feeling totally uncomfortable in its glare.

Photo sessions during family get-togethers and marriages always turned out to be embarrassing moments which I wanted to be done with as soon as possible. Do I show my teeth while smiling, or do I smile a wide-lipped, beaming smile, or just a little courtesy ‘I don’t care’ smile, or not smile at all! How do I hold my hands, how do I position myself, do I cross my legs…and between those forever-indecisive few seconds, the photographer clicks a snap that records a clumsy me with an awkward smile, drooping shoulders and fidgeting fingers!

Finally it was a momentous occasion when we bought a non-digital camera at the end of my school days. With no previews or retakes possible, as we couldn’t waste film rolls, the anticipation was high when we brought home the album and the negatives from the studio. Everyone huddling together and taking turns to look at the photos is a picture well-etched in my mind:)

Well now the picture is different. What with digital cameras and the latest techniques, taking snaps is a creative experience that brings the entire family together. Previews, retakes and adjustments make sure that only the best smiles and poses are captured.

Planned and random clicks record our life in its myriad colours. And the affordable camcorders have turned us into family historians and documentary makers in our own right!

These days my parents, in-laws and grandparents huddle before the laptop to see our poses from Sheffield on FB. So here I go! Say cheeeeeese!!!

No comments: