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Saturday, February 19, 2011

On looking through a load of old pictures

I've just spent a few hours sorting through hundreds of old family slides with my sister. Once they're hidden away inside unmarked Kodachrome containers, these pictures can spend decades unlooked-at. For every twenty pictures you find that recall people and occasions that you remember, there's one which throws up somebody you have forgotten altogether or another featuring a person you don't remember being there at the time. Once somebody reminds you it's as if you've come across a hidden track in the LP of your life. It makes you realise there are whole episodes of your life you have written out of the official record that you keep in your head, whether through forgetfulness, embarrassment or old-fashioned shame. It also makes you realise that when people tell you about their life, they're only telling you the version they're comfortable with.