After the age of eleven, when primary school was over, the amount of family photos or any photos lessened. My childhood photo album stops around the age of ten. After that: empty. No one bothered to fill it up. Pictures were not taken in our house, there was nothing to document, nobody wanted to remember. I did not own a camera till my late teens so a whole section of my life feels as though it is missing. My memories are all I have and even those are a blur.
There are no pictures of any of us at this time. My sister was eighteen when I was ten. She went inter-railing around Europe with friends after she took her A-Levels. She took photos there. However, there were no family photos. Occasionally my father would place us next to each other and force a family photo out of me and my sister. In these photos she looks incredibly uncomfortable, it’s obvious it is not her choice to be posing, to show a moment of happiness; there were no moments of happiness. I on the other hand, oblivious to my father’s controlling intentions, reveled in the picture taking much to my sister’s annoyance.
I wanted to be in photos. I wanted to see my family together. I was very aware that in reality we were falling apart. My want to be photographed only added to my sister’s resentment and irritation of me. I was self-centred and narcissistic when honestly I was a ten year girl who wanted memories of her sister.
I never had an agenda.
When I look on Facebook at friends’ photos of their family and children, I feel quite sad. I have nothing to look back on.
At my wedding, David and I had a show reel of our childhood in pictures. I have plenty of baby pictures but after a certain point the images vanish. It was upsetting to see David’s abundance of childhood photos.
Surely my life was as important. Why couldn’t my parents given me that?
I forget to take photos of important events now. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy having my picture taken. I feel very self conscious.
“Photography is truth” – Jean-Luc Godard.