The people in our pictures

People we have never met still contribute to our memories. The strangers in our photo albums, frozen timelessly into each picture. These people will never age. They will always be wearing that dress, those sunglasses. They will always be holding hands with that partner, laughing with that friend. Where are they now?

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I wonder how many people making up this crowd are still in South America today, maybe in Rio itself. Living a life that I only managed a glimpse of whilst travelling around Brazil for four weeks. I love this about travelling, that first time experience whether it be eating a forkful of new food or sipping a local traditional drink. What is new to us is all that some people may have ever known. Knowing this is true for tourists to my region has made me want to venture out as much as I can. Life is far too short to only sample our own neighbourhood, especially considering our location is purely down to chance.

What lives did the other attendees travel back to? The 78,000+ capacity stadium is three times larger than my hometown, and my hometown had plenty of stories. Many would have married and possibly had children since I snapped this crowd shot. How many people have not made it to see the day this post has went online. Even if they did not make it, their footprints did and this presence has contributed to my memories. I thank them for that.

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It is wonderful to consider the thousands of people we have preserved in time through photographs. All the emotions and behaviours present that very second… I bet there are some incredible stories hidden behind the anonymity. It is hard to see these individuals as anything but extras, obviously this couldn’t be less true. We simply don’t have the time or opportunity to hear them all. Maybe one of these people are following my blog, I could well be following them.

Even though we did not realise they brushed shoulders with us somewhere in the world, they did. Some of these people may walk right by us again someday, somewhere. How would we know? How would they know? It may take 50 years before we look at that photo again, too late to ever knowingly brush shoulders once more.

Their boat may sail before we can watch it depart, this doesn’t mean we cannot read the story they left behind for us.

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A new purpose 

I wonder when the last petrol station will close it’s doors. When there is no longer enough business from the cars driving by or flying overhead. What will they become?


Will they become diners? Maybe they will slowly deteriorate like aircraft in a scrapyard until the land is bought and houses are built. Maybe some will be preserved as museums, teaching future humans about fossil fuels and the cars of 2017.

I have no idea but it is fun to guess. It is fun to look around and wonder what aspects of our normality will be needless in future. I hope some of these are preserved for us to remember, even if there is a new purpose. Will telephone boxes be a good place to place defibrillators? Will petrol stations be a good place for electronic cars to charge?

Will airports be a good place for space centres in a future with increased space travel? I’m sure as time goes on, the past will be a great home for new possibilities and ways of life. What we need to do is ensure that we are willing to change the present and let the past make way for the future.

I’ve played basketball in a church on a full sized court. I’ve dined in the carriage of a train that was once used as transport and now sits on the beach. I’ve visited a castle that was once for defence and now for entertainment. With every attraction that has been transformed from the original purpose, not once have I wished it was back doing what it was built for. Why cling to the past with so much future potential?

I read something beautiful today. Your future self is watching you right now through memories. I sat and thought about it. I felt detached from my future self yet loved by him. Although my cells will be different my memories won’t be. We will have the same mutual loves and needs. 

I hope my future self has a future that hasn’t been forced into staying the same as I see it presently. If it does, apologies to my future self, I didn’t want it to be that way. 

If not, future self, I told you so.