In this busy life we lead, sometimes it pays to slow the pace and create memories that last. In a high tech world where every moment is captured by digital cameras, I look back on our precious family photographs. A time when we had to buy camera spools for our “automatic” cameras, thread it up inside and “shoot” 24 or 36 photos, blindly hoping they were going to turn out okay. We waited patiently till the “spool” was full, and then took it to an outlet to have them developed. This could take up to a week. It was a costly business and we paid for all the pictures, despite our mistakes, the moment captured when your subject blinked, or moved, creating a blurry image.
I remember that sense of excitement mixed with hope and trepidation, as I would open the photograph walker to discover what treasures lay within. The quiet disappointment and resignation when you discovered that a precious image was flawed through ill timing never to be recaptured! Oh, well, those were the days……. Today we can take several images and immediately view them again, discarding any blurred or less than perfect pictures. It costs us nothing to take multiples to capture the right moment and then we can even enhance those images with our “apps”. My, the world of memory-making has changed rapidly in the last decade!
There are a couple of memory-making moments I am reminded of daily and they do not involve photographs at all. On two occasions, when the weather was too awful to venture outside and our children were younger, I threw down a tarp on the kitchen floor, along with some acrylic paints and paintbrushes, a mirror and a big mounted canvas. The first occasion was when the children were but 6 and 8 years of age. I challenged the family to paint a self portrait, at the same time, on that one canvas! The outlines were drawn, then with squidges of paint on a big plate, we all set about painting our portraits.
While the wind howled outside, we were so absorbed in our project that the afternoon passed by in a blink. There was much jostling for position to all paint at the same time, sometimes taking turns to let one another finish a crucial piece bordering on our own self portrait. We stood back and viewed the finished masterpiece and I’ll never forget when our 6 year old announced very matter-of-factly, “Mum, you painted yourself as a Maori. Dad, you painted yourself as an African. And me and Cam painted ourselves as cartoon characters!”
That painting has hung in our home for the last 15 years and although the children were “embarrassed ” by it while they were growing up, I have never ceased to gaze at it with awe and affection, it captures the moment we made this everlasting memory!
The next memory-making we created was when our children were about 10 and 12 years of age. The weather was doing it’s bit for indoor creative endeavours. Once again, I assembled the tools for memory-making, a tarp, paints and brushes, some vibey music and a much larger mounted canvas. I instructed my family to throw all caution to the wind and paint whatever came to mind. There was no rules, they could use whatever tools they needed to create.
This time I had several pottles of sample wall paint in the brightest colours. We swiped colour, drizzled it, smoothed it, printed it with bits of rolled up toilet rolls, our hands, fingerprinted and swirled the paint around. It was once again, a lovely moment of togetherness , captured! A very modern impression of multiple, self- expressions. It hangs proudly in our therapy room. A beloved family memory-making moment captured for all time.
Perhaps one day, we can create a paint project with our future grandchildren!😜