Why Old Photos are so Alluring ?

The other day, I stumbled upon a wonderful photo from a rather sensible Blog of yvonnekoechig’s post About Franny . One remarkable feature that attracts me is a piece of an old photograph. My attention was immediately drawn to the old photo even if I have no idea who she was. Then when I started to read the content, my heart was touched by both the story  behind the photo & the woman in the photo. The old photograph itself evokes so much allure & ignited my curiosity. It triggered my emotion. This is one of the reasons why I find old photos  much more moving than modern ones. This is all about personal preferences but  this type of reaction can never be the same as doing the “like” “button in Instagram if you like a photo. I have learned that the number of likes on your photos does not define your worth as a person.

I observe this phenomenon  many many times happening in different occasions.

Have you ever seen an old photograph of your Husband, of your wife , or of someone you knew closely? specifically an old black and white photograph of them while they are still very young? Can you relate to me on  the feeling of bewilderment & fondness that I  felt whenever I am  looking closely to an old photograph in my hands? Call me sentimental I don’t care, but running my fingers through an old photo album and feeling the texture of each photo gives me such a feeling of sheer fascination compared to the feeling I have whenever I swipe on my phone’s camera roll or from photo gallery in my computer. It’s totally different.

Now, how would you describe your feeling of seeing a recent grinning & duck-faced selfies of people you knew  in your camera roll, or in their social media walls & feeds? How did you feel yourself while viewing their photos?

You see, people nowadays took photos driven  by the motivation of social media. That is why every photo is so fleeting. You always find yourself taking more & more photos until you see the most “beautiful you “in those photos.

A duck-faced selfie is the opposite of a serious portrait. In the modern selfies, It’s just a momentary performance of happiness. It has zero profundity and therefore zero artistic value. As a human document it is disturbingly throwaway. (In fact, not even solid enough to throw away – just press delete). Have you checked your “Recently deleted photos” lately? How many photos where in that folder?

“A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.”-Mark Twain

How beautiful and haunting old photographs are in comparison with our silly selfies. In the old photographs, you can see so much of  unsmiling faces, and yet I knew that they probably had as much fun as we do now while we took gazillions of selfies , if not more. But they felt no hysterical need to prove it with pictures. Instead, when they posed for a photograph, they thought about time, death and memory. Every photograph have a significant value in their life.The presence of those grave realities in old photographs makes them worth far more than our inanely happy Instagram snaps.Now we have 200+ photos in one event happened in one hour. In the old times, people had their photos taken most probably once when they are young, in a school uniform, once they graduated from college or once they got married. Every photograph has a deep remembrance, a timeless memory. This is how photos should be.

When I had my daughter, it becomes an addictive habit to took photos of her whenever I felt like doing so. I look at my camera roll and gazed in shock. Call me crazy Mama but I realized that I had 2000+ photos of my daughter taken since she was born up to the present! These number of photos are insane! She had more photos than I ever had in my lifetime now considering she’s only 18 months!  I sat in amazement and at same time reflect on reasons why am I doing this.  Of course our technology nowadays makes it conducive to have everything in an instant. Just look how easy it is to capture every single moment now in photos with a single click. You take 10 photos for  1 pose! Smartphones have become an instant event recorder of our life . It simplify our life as well as devalued it. First you took photos of your pregnancy kit with positive results, then You took photos of your bump on a monthly basis while you are pregnant, then when you are undergoing the Anomaly scan, while you are on labor, while you gave birth,up until the time you have your skin-to-skin moment with your baby. You have so many photos that none of them was developed & printed. All of them remained in our iPhones, iPads, laptops and maybe just stored in your external hard disk. You know that It won’t take long that your memory  will be all used up because of the amount of photos you have captured.

One of my favorite old photograph.

For those of you who have read this post, please tell me honestly if this old photo is not alluring enough.

When was the last time you’ve been enticed by an old photograph? Do you also make photo albums as part of your family tradition ?

Please feel free to comment how did this post made you feel.


7 thoughts on “Why Old Photos are so Alluring ?

  1. I have many photo albums up until I finished college (10 years ago). Then camera phones became more popular. And a few years ago for Christmas I received a nice digital camera. I have so many pictures I would like to print!

    I love old photographs especially of my grandparents.

    The feeling you described, of looking at photos rather than swiping through your phone, it’s the same with books! Having digital books is very convenient but there’s nothing like physically holding a book in your hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post. Old photos have a certain quality that is hard to reproduce, but not impossible. I agree that we’ve gotten very used to keeping photos in digital format, which is rather convenient. For me, it’s not a trye photo until it exists in print. My prints are my true final form photos, which brings more of the craft aspect of photography back into the picture.

    Another aspect of old photos is that they were taken with a dfferent point of view than we have today. Just over a year back, I was given all of the slide photography that was done by my wife’s late grandfather (my father-in-law had the good sense to ask me, if I wanted them, before he threw them out). One of my projects for this year is to scan them and bring them back to life. They are interesting in that they bring a different perspective from the 50’s and 60’s back to life. I will share some of them across the year, as I scan them and process them. Should be a cool project.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this great post, I loved reading it and I couldn’t agree more! I found old ones of my grand parents, and there are so alluring, so touching. From their poses, you can guess the preparation: the time my grand ma spent on make up, the efforts they made in dressing for the shot. There is a feeling of quietness, of respect surrounding them..Very very far from today’s loud selfies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That would be a great gallery Frank! Your father in law believed so much in your talent to entrust you with those photos.You must took the opportunity to bring it into life once again, a legacy that would definitely become a precious family keepsake. I look forward to see it once you’ve made it happen here in WP. Thanks for the time , I appreciate your comments and point of view on things I post here. My first month in WP would not have been as fulfilling as is it now if there were’nt people like you who always have a sincere tone in their words like you. Thanks !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love old photographs. I have many on my foyer table of my parents and grandparents from when they were young. But I also love old houses and antiques and the decade of the 1920s and Hemingway and old movies and well you get the drift! Right now I am going through all my photos that I’ve captured on several phones and computers and putting them all in one big hard drive and uploading to shutterfly. Then I will make photo albums. It’s going to take me years I think. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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