LOOK back in your family albums and you’ll see portraits of yourself and family members, predictable groups and holiday shots of excitable kids.
But today, photos have come of age. No-one with any sense fails to have a decent headshot of themselves, preferably looking accessible and pleasant, for business purposes. Most of us also have a complete, daily increasing “album” of pictures of ourselves in every conceivable situation.
We have shots of ourselves working, playing, eating and drinking (often with photos of the food beforehand and the drinks). We have lifestyle pictures of ourselves and family members, sometimes in funny situations, doing something cute or just a serious portrait showing us pondering on life.
We have learned to take selfies that flatter – and delete those that don’t. Many young girls are actually expert in these, daily chronicling important areas of their life like pouting, winking and looking like one of the Kardashians.
No situation must remain unrecorded. And that includes crime and life-threatening occurrences. When some tragedy occurs, people immediately whip out their phones, not to contact the emergency services but to take a picture they can post on Twitter.
Our lives are now ruled by photos. No family gathering, birthday or night out can actually happen without photos being taken to mark the event. Let’s face it, it just hasn’t happened unless you can prove it.
Is all this a bad thing, though? On the one hand, it means we always have to show we’ve had a good time by what we post. This puts us in a pictorial one-upmanship game no-one will ever win.
But, on the other hand, we’ll always have a wonderful record of our lives and the stand-out – and trivial – moments in it because we’ve got photographic proof. And perhaps we really need that.