they were taking photographs in the library today.

as a general rule, i hate posing for photographs. it has somewhat to do with me being hopelessly unphotogenic, but also because i see the futility of snapping images of ourselves at our happiest moments.

it is pointless to try and take away a fragment of a time in your life when you thought everything was going to be alright, as if a picture would serve as a source of optimism for the rest of your long, hard life.

last chinese new year, my aunt decided to get a portrait of the chua family professionally taken. we dressed our best, grinned our wisest, and ended up with several framed photographs to hang above our pianos and place on the side tables of our respective living rooms.

that may, my grandmother was diagnosed with gastric cancer and she passed away 4 months later.

the family portrait might have been able to catch my grandmother in time, preserving her image for generations to come. i can point the faces out to my children in the future while telling them stories of when i grew up with the people that i love the most. i can reminisce and be filled with fond memories of the past.

but i will always end up wishing i never grew up, never left those happier times, never lost the kind of happiness i felt at the time the photograph was taken.

they will have those digital memories to look back on in the future. it’s a wonderful thing, really: 2MB of smiles – a sure recipe to brighten up our lives and make us remember the past. however, they are but empty representatives of that time, surface reminders of feelings that are best left behind, futile attempts at preserving a life and a dream at a point when we thought they deserved to be kept.

the value of photographs is lost the moment they are taken. there’s nothing as genuine as the moment before. whatever feelings those pictures will evoke are never the same as the ones felt right before the flash went off.

they’re just another lie we add into the world we think we know.


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