School photos, a ritual,
cherished likenesses of ones' self,
thumbnail prints placed on a shelf
or mantelpiece with pride;
matter of obligation for parents
a record of proud growth.
Cameras with their elephant memories
We were rounded up by disreputable fellows
with a taste for pin-ups,
stage-sets, black cloths,
prints sent to dodgy magazines of the time:
Health and Efficiency,
Spic and Span,
Lilliput and their like.
After puberty came realisation,
a meeting of minds;
I bought a Kodak Retinette,
set up a darkroom in the bedroom,
moved on from the herding,
the framing with gilt.