Inglorious death of the family album is too sad

Triplets, Nineties childhood
Throwback: Me and the triplets, circa 1990

Last week my triplet (I know!) brothers and sister turned 30.

Which gave me an excuse to dig out the old family albums, tucked away on the top shelf of a wardrobe at my parents’.

For an hour or so I got lost in a little bubble of nostalgia. Laughing at our chubby cheeks and gap-toothed grins.

And then I found myself thinking about the rather inglorious death of the family photo album.

Most of us new parents have probably got more photos on our phones of our little ones in the first month of their lives, than there are in existence from our entire childhoods.

Pretty much every single day of Sonny Jim’s life has been snapped on my phone. A fair number of them end up being posted on Instagram, and being WhatsApped to his daddy.

And yet, I rarely actually go and print any. A very few have made it into photo frames (the one of him gazing solemnly into his bath at about one still makes my ovaries weep) but they’re all on a cloud. Nowhere tangible. How many memories are captured and lost because we’re not heading over to Snappy Snaps anymore with a roll of film?

There’s something unique about family photo albums. They seem to radiate a mixture of joy, embarrassment (why was I cursed with eyebrows that could put Noel Gallagher’s to shame when I was a teen?! WHY?!) and love.

Looking at a profile page or an On This Day throwback post just isn’t the same.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next decade or so, just as actual records have had something of a resurgence, that proper cameras, rolls of film and 6” x 4” prints make a return.

In the meantime, I’m going to make more of an effort to get those photos off my phone and into a book, so in a couple of decades time Sonny Jim too can laugh as he flicks through his childhood.

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