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His first camera had been a birthday present from his mother when he was just a little boy. It was bright red and solidly built, with a big door at the back to load in the film. He took pictures every day, saving all his pocket money to get them developed and carefully sticking them into albums.

Over the years he got new cameras, better ones and bigger ones. He had a dalliance with polaroid, but didn’t like the way people crowded around the developing picture. He went digital, and took more pictures than ever, but still printed out the best ones for his albums.

The albums gradually took up more and more space. His life in pictures, he said. He would never need to write his memoirs, it was all there in pictures.

His wife was there. He had taken a picture of her within minutes of meeting her, and hundreds on the days, months and years that followed. He had taken pictures of her when she was in labour. She hadn’t been too pleased about it, and tried to make him get rid of them. He’d had to hide one in the album. He printed the first picture of their son slightly larger than usual, using it to create a hidden pocket that the other picture could be slipped into.

He had even taken a picture of her when she left. They had argued over the albums. She wanted him to scan them all in and get rid of them, they took up too much space. They had shouted at each other. She accused him of seeing his entire life through the viewfinder, told him that he never really experienced anything because he was too busy taking pictures. Finally she packed a suitcase and walked out. He picked up his camera as the door slammed, and made it to the window in time to take a picture of her walking down the path.

© Kari Fay

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