Metropole Magazine

Today's Weather: Abuja NG: Partly Cloudy, Day 360|Night 260

17 Jan Written by  Ladi Opaluwa

24 Hours in 10 Candid Photos

One of the thrills of loafing on Facebook is wandering through people’s profiles, monitoring their timelines to read details of their latest adventures, and checking photos of significant events in their lives as they unfold and are uploaded.

I am here going through a friend’s pictures from the album, ‘Our Big Day’. The man in white shirt, pink tie, and black suit points an index finger at his partner; the lady in a white princess gown has her lips pointed at him in a gesture of a kiss. In the background there are many people, some in uniform head-gears, all garishly dressed.

Wedding pictures of earlier generations were more demure, more befitting of a solemn event. The bride was usually covered up in a long-sleeved gown with gloves and trailing veil, her face a mask of emotions: nervousness, sadness, as if she was coerced into the picture, if not the marriage. The groom in afro and flayed trouser usually stood inches apart from her. They both always stood at attention.

A stiff formality permeated the grainy, monochrome pictures of old, be it a wedding photo or a family portrait. The subjects were sober. A man set on the edge of a seat, hands on his laps, was surrounded by members of his extended family members. It would have taken a frantic effort to get everyone into this cast. It would have cost some stress and money to arrange the photo session.

The photographer would have spent time organising the subjects and before taking the shot he might have implored them to look straight at the camera. So the result is a picture with everyone standing or sitting in a straight posture, with straight faces, careful not to ruin the rare chance at immortality. You wouldn’t want to come off as trivial to generations after watching the tome of a photo album.

Besides, given the situation it is safer to compose the face into the cold mode acceptable for passport photographs than risk a smile. A smile is a gamble. It may improve one’s visage if stretched to the right limit, otherwise it forms ugly folds on the cheeks.

Since it became possible with the digital camera to instantly delete the unsightly picture, the mood of people in photographs has changed from sober to happy and poses have become less prim, more playful. Selfies published on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and seen everywhere online are gayer than their ancient predecessors taken in the studio of a professional photographer and stuck into an album.

A comparative study of photographs may cause one to conclude that the world has become a cheerier place. Though the world continues to have serious challenges to grapple with, man in the picture has become happier, it appears.

The expression of joy is mostly staged, mock candid pictures a trend that has cut the naturally unenthusiastic, non-theatrical fellow out of the picture; he would need to take acting lessons to achieve the change in poses and moods (a broad smile, a frown, a pout, a seductive gaze, and a peace sign all within a minute) that now come easily to many.

As the device changed, so did the attitude of the subjects in photographs. Since the invention of the digital camera, man has become more willing to tinker with his image, not excluding his wedding picture, and willing also to share the pictures with the world.

Man has finally owned up to his fun and narcissistic sides, capturing on his phone camera his activities through the day―waking up, breakfast things, crappy modem, not happy, writing, soooo angry, reading, @ the movies, bedtime #insomnia, sleeping―a picture for every emotion, every moment.