I hated having my picture taken and I was totally impatient when others wished to stop the action of any event to record it by snapping those pictures. Or sabotaging an intimate affair with one thousand watts of filming lights.
The reason I so dislike posing for pictures are the same reasons and excuses as every other woman uses as objections. My hair is a mess. I look too fat. I don’t have my make-up on. I look too fat. My clothes are wrinkled. I look too fat. I’m very busy. I look too fat. I come terrible in pictures. I look too fat. Out of one hundred pictures of myself I rarely find one that I like. Does anyone view a picture of themselves that can live up to the image they have in their mind’s eye? I doubt it. None of us really knows what we ourselves look like.
Despite all of my objections, Jim, has gone on snapping pictures throughout all the years we’ve been together. Admittedly, I am an enabler having bought my husband every camera he’s ever owned as a gift for some occasion. We’ve run the gamut from a Kodak 110, eight millimeter movie camera, super eight, camcorders, thirty-five millimeter, Polaroids (for those naughty pictures you hide from the children), our first, second, third and fourth digital (they keep improving) and several in between that I have surely forgotten. Don’t forget the throw away cameras that had hit a height for a few years. You need these because you don’t want to bring the new (expensive, big) camera on vacation. So despite all the equipment you might own, lots of those vacation pictures are taken with a throw away.
We have a trunk load of pictures in scrap books and hundreds if not thousands on my computer. Family wedding pictures from my Mom and Dad’s wedding to the last of my daughter’s to marry. With my wedding album prominent among these. All in the trunk.
A tin type of my Grandmother at about twenty years of age, wearing a severe black dress and a long locket around her neck, rests on a living room shelf. My son once dated a girl from India who was spending Christmas day with us. She studied the picture of my Grandmother for a long time. The polite young lady was amazed. Apparently, she had seen a picture just like it, with the exception that it was her Grandmother captured on a tin, in a severe black dress. Her hair swept up in a bun, as my Grandmother’s was. No matter the two pictures were taken years and countries apart. She was struck by the similarity.
Despite my objections of having to stop and pose at different moments in life, these many years later I love seeing the captured images. Love ones frozen in time, young, smiling and laughing. My children passing through every stage of life. My oldest, Crissy in that tall paper crown made in kindergarten that proclaimed that she was now five years old. My son, Jimmy, proudly sticking out his chest on Halloween to show off the black bat I’d sewn on his gold polo shirt. He was batman that year. And my baby girl Kyra, sitting on a big pumpkin, at the head of the driveway. She wore an oversized beret, with her little hands folded in her lap, she watched the world go by.
Maybe the biggest surprise of all, when I look back at these pictures, was me. I was beautiful and curvy NOT fat. Fat denotes something unpleasant. I don’t care if someone is three hundred pounds they are not fat unless they are mean and malicious. Now, with a less critical eye, I see what my husband, who so wanted to take pictures of me saw. I see a young wife and mother whose hair was a mess because she was playing with her babies. I see a woman who didn’t need make-up. The bloom of happiness flushed her cheeks. Being busy meant she was cooking, decorating, and setting the table for all those she loved, husband, children, family and friends. He captured all these things and more.
Now, I allow more pictures taken of me then ever before. I still am not pleased with the results. You never lose that bit of vanity that drives us. But I know my children and grandchildren will love having these reminders of me in the future. Today when some says, “Say Cheese,” I grin and bear it.