Seems to me that it’s a very good idea to sort out photo albums in a timely fashion. The two main reasons for this are:

  1. You can remember the who/where/when of the photos.
  2. You don’t post-select the photos based on experiences since then.

For instance, a few years ago I went to a wedding and took lots of piccies on my digital camera. I’m finally getting around to printing out the photos from the computer to go in albums – but sadly in the meantime said couple have split up. This makes for a difficult dilemma… Do I put in photos of “the happy couple” (and they were happy on the day) or not?

To not put them in seems a shame on many fronts. The bride looked absolutely radiant, and I took some stonking photos of her. The wedding itself was a lovely day in a beautiful setting. Everyone had a really good time and that shows in the photos. There’s also the whole “documentary” side of life – a photo album is, in same ways, a store of memories, or at least aide-memoirs. Finally, what happens if the circumstances change again? Perhaps they will patch up their marriage, and have the next 50 years together?

On the other hand, it’s a shame to put in pictures of the bride and groom looking lovingly at each other when, in retrospect, clearly something was rotten in the state of Denmark. It’s like a wedding is a celebration of love and commitment, but if it only lasts a couple of years that’s casts a different light on that day. There’s also the thing about who else might look at our albums – should they or any of there friends and family come round and look at out photos, the last thing they’d want is to be forceably reminded of what, I’m sure, is a very painful experience.

My resolution is to try and chart a middle course – I wouldn’t want to pretend it didn’t happen, and all of us there enjoyed the day. But I’ve also avoided choosing photos of the bride and groom being lovey-dovey. This is actually fairly easy, as you can include the staged shots of various combinations of family. There’s a whole philosophical questions here about our response to pain and “darkness”, I guess, which is actually one I’ve been pondering recently… But that’s for another day!