Fading Pictures by Simon Dando


Digital Story Transcript

We don’t keep photographs anymore, it’s all digital cameras and jpegs now. Saved on the PC and stored as a long, nonsensical list of digits where they solemnly wait for the inevitable fried hard drive.

We used to… keep pictures, that is hundreds of them. They’re all still there now, all tightly packed into plastic boxes, locked quietly away in the attic. Pictures, pictures of me, pictures of me looking horrified on the first day of comprehensive. Pictures of family, holidays, meals, birthdays, friends… even pictures of haircuts. Yes, the camera seemed to go everywhere back then.

I like the pictures of my granddad the most. Thomas Kane, or “Tom-Tom” as we affectionately called him. He died in 1991 when I was only four, and my memories of him are few, but nevertheless warm and happy. Some of them are captured in the pages of a photo album, like one of the few birthdays I spent with him. I had a Ninja Turtles cake.

One photo however, is inexplicably gone. My favourite, it’s a photo of him and me cuddled up on a living room chair, sleepily watching a television that’s just out of shot. Whatever we were watching will never be known, but the picture remains in my mind.

Memory, however, is a flawed and unreliable thing, and it fails me more and more. I can’t, for example, remember the colour of the blanket we shared, or the design of the paper on the wall. Memories over time begin to fade. I sometimes imagine myself fifty years from now, will I recall that holiday to Amsterdam? Or my parents’ pearl wedding anniversary? The one where I got incredibly drunk. Will I remember my first car, or passing my exams?

But most of all I think, “will I remember that old photo”? That old photo of me and my granddad, cuddled up on the living room chair. Sleepily watching a TV that’s just out of shot.

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