“Time to clear out these old photo albums,” someone in the family said a few weeks ago. “I have no idea who these people are. We might as well throw these photos away.”
Meanwhile, halfway around the world, someone else is looking at a photo of one of the most memorable times of your life.
They don’t know that you know the faces in their photos, just as you don’t know that they know the faces in your photos.
“Time to clear out these old photo albums,” they’re saying. “I have no idea who these people are. We might as well throw these photos away.”
In an era of instant selfies, it can be hard to remember that when you were looking at the camera, someone else was looking back at you.
“Okay, now I’ll get a picture of you.”
The roles are reversed.
A week, a month or maybe even a year later, the film gets dropped at the lab.
A week or two or maybe a month after that, the pictures are back in your hands.
Sometimes, they languish in an old cardboard box in the back of a closet.
If they’re lucky, they find their way into an album.
If they’re really lucky, someone wrote a few notes on the back: “Expo”, “That place that had the great pasta!”
Never mind which “Expo” or the name of that restaurant that someone might still remember before it became that new high rise some years back.
Heck, most of those pictures don’t even need notes, right?
Those were great times. You’ll never forget! No one in those photos could ever forget.
Then, next thing you know, someone is flipping through them and saying: “I have no idea who these people are. We might as well throw these photos away.”
Kodachrome slides, 1980 — 1986. Photographs by Peter Noakes.