There is a photograph of me and the girls taken in a photo booth. It’s from one of our countless in-the-spur-of-the-moment things. Looking at the photograph, I would say that they were around the ages of 3, 5 and 7. We were wasting time at a shopping centre. We never had money to spend back then, but we went there anyway just for the fun of it. When we had had our fun and we were on our way back to the car underground, I happened to spot a photo booth. I had enough money on me for us to use the booth, so I asked the girls if they wanted to go along with the idea. Caroline shouted, “yes!” Emily said, “what do you mean?” and Sarah, in her usual manner, had not heard a word of what I said, since she was still by the escalator wanting to ride it again. We all gathered in front of the booth and looked at the different examples of photographs on the side of the booth. I told them how it worked and what was going to happen once we were inside.
I don’t know if you have ever been inside a photo booth, but it is a very small compartment made for one person – and barely so. I went in, lowered the seat as far down as it would go and told the girls to come in. I had Emily, the oldest, sit on my right knee; I had Caroline sit on my left knee, and finally Sarah scrambled in and placed herself in front of us. In those days you didn’t just get one picture reprinted four times on the same sheet, but four actual photographs printed on one sheet. Not one, but four really bright flashes.
The picture that I kept for myself shows an unshaved me in the back smiling, half a face of a girl on my right knee putting candy in her mouth, half a face of another girl doing her best to be seen by the camera by pushing her little sister’s head to the side, and then another little girl in the front wondering why there is a hand on the side of her face, only moments before she says, “Caro, stop pushing me!”
Each one of us has one unique photograph from that event that took place between four flashes on that day so many years ago.