Richard Oliff: We snapped away to preserve memories

Richard's parents had preserved many old family photographs
Richard's parents had preserved many old family photographs

My brother Tom and I were incessant photographers – or perhaps I should use the less grandiose “snappers”.

We didn’t deal in shutter speeds or talk of resolutions; we were happy simply to record a moment in time purely for the benefit of future generations to realise that even we were once young.

My parents had preserved many old family photographs, keeping them in two or perhaps three small volumes of black and white pictures that would be of no interest at all to anyone outside of our family circle.

Though, in saying that, I have always enjoyed looking at other people’s recorded family history, so maybe we should have shared more of those classically mounted images.

Sadly, our eldest brother had taken it upon himself to automatically inherit said volumes, somehow acquiring the beloved pictures, ensuring that they didn’t see the light of day again.

No-one asked me if I might like to keep any of them following the death of my mother that I may perhaps choose those that had held an individual meaning, or have a reminiscent, emotional, and sentimental, even romantic attachment for me.

No, my eldest brother appeared to guard them with an almost Gollum-like precious jealousy.

There are other people who who choose to hone their photographic skills, much to the delight of many a wedding party.

Some are rather more purist, using their photographic paper or other such medium as an artist might use a canvas on which to display their work, that they may be rightly exhibited in a gallery.

If they’re lucky.

Next week I shall be visiting one such exhibition by a young man in London who has created his own opportunity, managing to finance his first public outing using a form of online crowd-funding, which will also subsidise the publication of his first “coffee table” book.