Thursday, November 23, 2017

When We Were Polaroids, and Beyond

I'm livin' in the 70's
I feel like I lost my keys
Got the right day but I got the wrong week
And I get paid for just bein' a freak - Skyhooks, "Living in the Seventies" circa 1975

Kissing Cousins, Polaroid 1975
We all have them - well, when I say "we" I mean us baby boomers, and maybe our adult children. Photos taken with Polaroid cameras. Of blond long-haired offspring - grainy photos of a time of lost innocence.

Pure nostalgia, now commercialized in made-for-Netflix series and its ilk - which feature opening scenes of old snaps and ancient videos, such as in "Transparent" and "One Mississippi".

The grainy colors, the unreal awkward reds - faded in time like the memories they evoke. More innocent than the black and white photos taken with SLR cameras, Polaroid's were for the working-class chroniclers.

The closest we could get to instant gratification. I remember my mother, all excitement, taking  photos of her grandkids and waiting the three minutes for her Polaroid to produce the photo.. Now of course it is instant, and we have so many photos of our children, friends, places and grandchildren that they sit on hard drives and smart phone. Memories - too many to even browse.

Such is our time. Everything flashes by. Images forgettable before they are fully absorbed.

There was a time before Polaroids of course. My father was an amateur photographer. He had quite a business going for a while, taking wedding photos. He'd take photos of the bride and groom and guests, and run off to develop them, to return them while the bridal party was still celebrating.Unfortunately he was a drinker, and invariably had six too many while developing the photos, only to return round midnight when the wedding guests had long since departed...

Fortunately however, he took some pre-Polaroid photos of me, and while sorting out my old photos recently, I came across the series below. I post it here because it completely and perfectly summarizes my life. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

This me, and is MY non-polaroid story.

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