I tweeted recently about how funny it was that family photos for anyone who was a young kid in the ’70s are identical – same props, same setting, same clothes. Let’s see what I mean…
Any of these so very random captures familiar to you?
* you and sibling(s) in a wheelbarrow
* first day of school shot. You’re in uniform; younger sibling is wearing a pirate outfit (or vice versa). Perhaps they’re holding their capgun. Or sporting a batman cape. Whatever. It’s convincingly competing with your uniform. You’re smiling. They’re looking well grumpy.
* you as a toddler holding a beer can. Better still, an over-sized beer can.
* you as a toddler with a plastic ice cream bucket on your head
* family photo, often taken after church (when you’re all in your good clobber, knees scrubbed; thongs washed; BMX tee tucked into Rugger shorts). Me, I was mostly holding the youngest (and have wonky hips to show for it now…that one on my lap above…almost 12 lb when he was born!).
* wearing corduroy overalls with a coloured skivvy. That every other sibling also wore at some point.
* in a bath. With your brothers. And your cousins. It’s Christmas time and you’re so very not happy about the arrangement.
When I tweeted the observation, stacks of tweeps chimed in and sent photos…which were EXACTLY the same as ones of me – same age, same era, same orange-y graininess.
It’s funny, hey. Back then, life looked the same for most people at the same age. Most people got married in their 20s and had kids while they were still struggling financially. They enjoyed the same kind of family social occasions. Kids did the same things. Fads came and went much more slowly. We ALL got into smelly hoolahoops at the same time. Toddlers wore the same practical clothing. And somehow we did the same things with the same props.
What impact does this have on a generation? What impact will constant change, older parents etc have on kids today? My upbringing was basic and modest and I’ve garnered much from the simplicity of this. From a simple, stable base you can pivot off and be crazy/erratic/changeable yourself.
My generation love looking back at photos from their childhood because it does signify far simpler, humbler values. The daggy sameness is comforting. (Also looking into your eyes as a kid is weirdly comforting…try it.)
I’m over-analysing now. I’ve shared some shots of me and my family here…it’s the 80’s for many of these but they’re the only ones I have with me. And below is a great photographic project where London-based artist Irina Werning reconstructed photos of people from when they were a kid, as adults. Love.
What were the standard “Kid in the ’70s” shots in your family?