When I lived in London, I probably didn’t visit home as much as I should have done, but when I did, there were a few things I could always rely on. The temperature dropping by a few degrees whilst travelling up the M1, my sister moving more stuff into my old room (the slow take over), and a roast dinner on the Sunday before I set off back down south. And then another routine started on one of these visits. After the plates were cleared, washed and dried, Mum would open the dresser and out came the old family photos. Kept in a 70’s Quality Street tin, I still love the sound of the lid being lifted, and the rustle of the photo packets inside, like a lucky dip, which era were we going to pick out first? Will it be the 80’s Franki Says T-Shirts phase, holidays on windy Scottish beaches, building dens in the woods, or would we go further back to when Mum and Dad were growing up?
Over the years, the photos have been even more mixed up, which adds to the surprise element of this little ritual. All the ‘best’ photos have made it into frames on the walls, or displayed on bookshelves and the mantlepiece. But it’s the snap shots in the tin I love the most. Not technically perfect in anyway, but just shots of us on location in places we visited, and almost always looking straight at the camera. Mum had a terrible habit of cutting Dad’s head off in the frame when she was the designated photographer, and there are a collection of these shots too, like little gems amongst the muddle of photos. Mum always has the tin on her knee and passes us the photos. I can always tell when she’s picked up one of the ‘where’s Dad’s head?!’ shots, as her face scrunches up and she lets out a laugh! It’s not even about the photos maybe, it’s about these predictable, yet cosy moments that bring us together as a family.
I know so many of us say how much we should print our photos, and it sometimes takes a bit of effort to do this. We have just had some photos printed and we’re going to be going to our framers soon to get the first images of me Suze and Olive on our walls. And for all the other shots we’ve taken over the past 7 months, we’re going to create albums and print out a bunch of 6x4s. We’re just going to print them so we have something tangible. The thought of Olive sitting there with an old tin on her knee passing them around to her family is such a strange thought right now, but this is why we want to do it. For us to enjoy them now, but to provide those moments in the future where she can just stop for a while and take a look at them with her loved ones.
On one of our visits a couple of years ago, me and Suzi wondered if we could make our own photos wallet, so our families can take away this tangible product from their shoot. We launched our photo wallet last year, we love it so much. It’s a trip down nostalgic lane, for those of us who grew up on taking our films in to be developed, but also provides that tactile product for a family to hold. Maybe some of them will make it into frames, or maybe they’ll stay in their wallet to be looked at over the years.
Do you have a place where you keep your printed photos? Are there any more Quality Street tins out there stuffed with photos? We’d love to hear where you keep them, and how you display them.