Complacent or confident #embracingthefuture

I found this picture the other day, amongst a number I inherited from Mum. On the back, in my gran’s  handwriting it says: ‘R101 from bedroom window’. The R101 was the British government’s attempt to find a way for long haul air flight and two were built, here. Understandably, given the hype, seeing this was something of an event, so it justified the camera being taken from its case and an expensive piece of film used for this somewhat fuzzy shot.

Capturing events, big and small on film is one example of the rapid changes we have seen over the last few years. Take this picture.

I’m seven, maybe and we’re on the beach near Ramsgate. I vividly recall Dad’s fury at me ‘mucking’ up ‘ the picture.

Or this

My first ever holiday with the Textiliste in 1978, where we hitched to and across Southern Ireland – I’m at the top of a mountain somewhere on the west coast – that could be Bantry Bay behind me. The point is not to showcase my fabulous torso or my appalling taste in hats but to note it is black and white, the cheapest film we could afford because of the expense of colour.

My children, still, to me, young in their 20s, were captured on film in their early years. I’ve been scanning them for ages now and can remember well the visits to Boots to have the films developed – the queuing on a Monday morning, the astringent smell of the processing fluids, the little tear off slips, so infinitely precious and the slight frisson at 4 o’clock as I dipped out of the office to collect the prints hoping (a) they hadn’t been lost and (b) there hadn’t been some awful failure of the film or the camera and I found I had 24 neat squares of black edged white.

Sometime in the 90s a digital camera emerged, then a smart phone. Now my struggle is for memory – not the ‘why did I go upstairs’ sort of struggle, but the capacity to store sort – with thousands of pictures I now take. So to say I’m promiscuous would be an understatement. And the facilities I can employ – tints and twists, enlargements and crops – I can even boomerang on instagram for pity’s sake. Ok, so this one is really the Vet’s but she showed me how… and it’s my pudding!

Spotted dick & custard 🙌🏻💛 #baking #bakingvideo #spotteddickpudding #custard #pudding #boomerang #suet

A post shared by Jenni Le Pard (@lepardbakes) on

Sometimes I hanker for the good old days when you viewed a concert through your own eyes and not filtered by thousands of small screens held up in front of you, as happened when we saw Coldplay last year. But that is perhaps a small price to pay for the ability to snap something so quickly and easily.

My gran would have seen the R101 in the early 30s probably. She remembered the announcement of manned flight when the Wright brothers made history in 1903 and I sat with her 66 years later when Armstrong walked on the moon. She didn’t bat an eyelid. I often wondered how she absorbed so much change in her life time, how she came to terms with it. Yet we do. We marvel at the disruptors who change for ever the way we do things, we absorb it, process it and move on.

Sometimes we talk about the speed of change, how it is forever increasing but that suggests a smooth progression. These changes are far from smooth; they often change people’s lives dramatically, not always for the better if jobs are lost. They jolt us forward. But we will always be ready to adapt. Evolve. That’s what we’ve always done. Even if it means I now have some 10,000 pictures to try and catalogue….

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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29 Responses to Complacent or confident #embracingthefuture

  1. Ritu says:

    I for one am glad you have all these fabulous photos!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Joy Pixley says:

    I have often mused similar things, about changes over time, thinking about my grandparents’ experiences with the Great Depression and then living through all that happened over the rest of the 20th century, which they almost got to the end of. I don’t feel like as much has changed over my lifetime yet, but then, maybe that’s the way it is: things creep up, and then you accept them, and then it seems somehow normal, like, how could it be otherwise. In any case,I’m certainly glad to have those photos of a bygone era, and wonder what will happen to all of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny, we had this conversation just yesterday, wandering round Stourhead taking pictures, the odd video to record a bird, looking at them immediately and saying how you used to have to wait a week and often half them didn’t come out! All this stuff at our fingertips. Also that we’ve always been aware of, for e.g. space flight, planes etc, but grandparents must have seen massive changes. Wonder how it’ll be in 60 years’ time … Nice post, thanks – but want good English pud now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You know I can identify with the photographic history in this, but I don’t know anything about spotted dick. You possibly haven’t seen this post: https://derrickjknight.com/2014/12/31/she-saw-the-r100/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a wonder we have so many photographs of historical events given the weight, size and encasing of cameras that involved mush swearing and fumbling to have ready for the shot. Then there was the cost of purchase, cost of development and all the things that could go wrong with film……Your gran did well! I remember when my eldest got a camera for her birthday in the 70’s and we went walking along the beach to the gannet colony where she was allowed to let rip for the first time. The outcome a week later was twenty five photos of blurry wheeling birds against a blue sky. She was so disappointed that until modern phones became part of her life she never owned another camera. I still forget to take photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy looking through a box of old photos. They can bring back so many memories, especially of times and even people we may have forgotten but who were still firmly at the back of our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Our wedding photos are in black and white. Twenty year old grandson is surprised how ‘modern’ we were in those days… not choosing colour photos. Er 1970,,. Still got my wedding dress that neither of our daughters could get into. Hah!!,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love looking through old photos, especially my Mum’s. She has some from around 1900 or so, going through to the Polaroid instant colour ones you could take, which we thought were almost like magic! The thing now is though, they kind of stopped coming as the phones and cameras became digital! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m very impressed by the fact that you hitched across Cork, and lived to tell the tale. They’re very wily down there. Did you do much romantic book cover modelling after this?

    Liked by 1 person

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