The mornings of my third and fourth week were dedicated to sketching portraits, body postures, and spatial profiles by referring to photographs from a decade ago.
My initial response was a sense of excitement because it had been quite some time since I had looked at old pictures. This was followed by complete frustration because soon enough I realised that by 2011 we had started recording our memories on our smartphones rather than printing them out and retaining them in a photo album. While it might have seemed convenient and innovative ten years ago, this change in the method of preservation resulted in nothing but the loss of sweet memories. With every new version of smartphones and every new update, I was slowly losing out on many of the pictures that one day I would have liked to go back to. My parents’ phones contained so few pictures from ten years ago and mine even less. I had very few images that I could recreate for the purpose of the exercise.
The first sketches I made were portraits of my aunt, my father, my brother, and my sister. While the change that ten years brought to my siblings’ physical features was immense, it surprised me how my aunt looked almost the same.
The end result of making self-portraits of ten-year-old me was disappointing for me to look as neither of them looked like me. The process was, in contrast, very nostalgic because sketching myself made me wish I could go back to the time when I was ten. I was impressed by how I was able to remember some of the small details that happened on the days the photographs were clicked.
The next part of the exercise was to sketch body postures and spatial profiles of different spaces. These were quick sketches that I made while referring to old photographs. Several of these photographs took me back to the time when they were clicked. The spatial profiles were line drawings and I had to imagine and sketch what was outside of the frame of the photograph. Seeing a picture that was taken in the old apartment that I used to live in helped me remember what almost every part of it looked like. I remember having clicked many more pictures from inside my old apartment, but all of them got lost in the course of ten years.
I really wish we could go back to the time when recording memories was not as simple as whipping out a smartphone and clicking twenty images at once only to delete them three days later, but when each photograph we clicked were of special instances in our lives and had a special meaning, and we had no other choice but to print them out to store them because the accessibility of more photographs would have made the exercise more interesting and fun for me.