24 August 2010

The Permanence of Impermanence

So, i was going through some pictures on my facebook (a place where i want to be less and less these days) and i found an old picture i've seen hudreds of times before, this one:

that's me in the lime green and white vest

Then, like Ike did Tina in the limo, it hit me, i can't even remember that picture being taken, let alone who took the picture, comments on the picture lead me to think my cousin Mikka took it.
All i know is that it's a picture of my cousins and i in a time that the world forgot.

The impermanence of that time combined with the permanence of the photo got me thinking about how far everyone in that image has come.

We have three university graduates, one of which graduated from an Ivy League School, two fathers, a mother,  a personal trainer and a Big Brother Africa contestant, way before reality TV was even conceived or our accolades gained, this was our reality, it's sense of nostalgia, or lack there of for me, i was too young, is almost unnerving.

This was before iPods and flatscreen TV's, global terrorism, before Sky+ and
microwave meals.
This was Tevin Campell and cassette players, VHS and The Cosby Show, Coca-Cola On The Beat (you had to be there), when people were "courting" eachother, never hooking up.

As a child i unconsciously set aside the impermanence of life, living instead in an endless present. But as we grow up, we are torn from that present into something exquisitely more painful, that nothing stays still, however much we need it to.

What remains fixed, is this image, 20 years later.

I now find myself almost a stranger to the world that this image represents, an Africa that is so far removed from what it is today. As we change, the image stays still, set as a reminder of what once was.

But, that's the beauty of having such photographs, we were all once part of something.
Every tree has it's roots, I know everyone reading this has pictures we can't bare to look at, but laugh at uncontrollably when we see them. Some of the clothes my mother made me wear in the 90's are considered child abuse in the 21st Century, but would i have it any other way?........would you?

Conversely, there are some pictures we take with certain people we'd never have taken had we known they'd end up representing a sadder time in your life, but again, we live and we learn, documenting these pictures, serving as a reminder to never go back to that place.

Ok this is all getting a little long and i need to go shower, but do me a favour, do yourself a favour, break out those old, dusty, ring bound photo albums.

Look back at the afro's, the jheri curls, the curtains, the scrunchies and the beads,  the high fades and the braids and make yourself feel instantly better, and appreciate the journey you've travelled, and lived through all the trials and tribulations you've survived. Nothing is permanent, nothing except the moment in which those pictures capture.

"nothing is permanent in this wicked world..not even our troubles" 
Charlie Chaplin

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  1. You like your big words don't you! I'm completely with you re. the range of emotions that old pictures can evoke. I can not stand to look at some - but I would not go back and 'uncapture' those moments. And who knows, one day I will sit. Look at them and smile.

    Great post!

    And btw -lime and white just aint right! Pahaaaaa!

  2. Nope, nothing stands still. As an adult, you can choose how your life should change and make your every moment count so you can capture them in nice pictures that you'll back on and helplessly smile :-)

  3. mic love the post!! wouldnt change the past for nothing the retro clothes and the off key colour cordination... great memorys.

  4. Very Nicely Written. From one 80's baby to another...I miss those days.

    Jada Townwood from Texas