Life in Pictures
I've earned a few nicknames through the years. "Camera Queen", "Photo Freak", "Paparazzi" (or better yet "Momarazzi"). Friends tell me they don't worry about capturing an event, party, or gathering as long as I am there. Even their own kid's birthday parties. Sounds like I missed my calling, eh?
Scott cringes when I ask someone to take our picture. I can hear him mumbling the words "ok, ok, ok" through his grin while waiting for the stranger to just take the picture already. BUT, he does it anyway. He literally "grins and bears it". This is how I know he truly does love me!
Sometimes, when I stumble across the photo bin that's been relocated from just about every room, from under every bed, or every closet, I fall in to what seems like not just memory lane, but more like a deep hole of the evolution of my life. From day 1 to year 26 or 27 of my life. Because, let's be honest, I haven't printed out physical photos unless they're going on my walls since like 2007. Some of the old photos are oddly shaped, slightly yellowed, and the paper is thicker...courser. The tangibility of them somehow brings the memory back to the forefront of my mind. Maybe there's a smell, taste, or feeling associated. My eyes fixate on the images for a moment, scanning each corner of it, searching for the memory and to let the feeling wash over me. Then it's on to the next photo in the stack. The momentum of the memories build and build. The photos are small, but they erupt with so much life.
As the girls are getting older, I've been thoroughly enjoying Facebook's "On This Day" throwbacks. And now that we've added our pup son, the throwbacks are getting even cuter with puppy pics from last year (always crying). With the incredible technology we have these days to capture life at any moment, comes the gift of locking in our most treasured memories. Back in the day, we feared the ultimate casualty of losing our physical photos to things like a house fire, a camera that ate up the film, misplacing an envelope of pictures, etc. We fortunately don't have to fear that loss now. Scrap booking has been replaced by digital photo books, and online tools like Google Photos, Shutterfly, and Smugmug help keep photos organized and protected from deletion or loss.
For a digital book resource, I highly recommend Blurb - I have created years worth of family albums, cook books, memory books for pets we have lost, and special photo books for friends or family, such as my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.
One thing I learned a while back when planning for a family photo shoot was that everyone needed to feel comfortable and confident in what they are wearing and the surroundings of where we'd be photographed. Some of the best pictures of our family are from familiar settings and casual attire. That meant being okay with Scott wearing a hat, or letting our youngest pick out what she wanted to wear. And the end result has always been more emphasis on their genuinely joy filled faces and not about the clothes.
It's about capturing the real and raw. Decades from now, I'd love to say "remember when" while looking at these photos. How Savannah didn't stop grinning the whole shoot, Holland ate up the solo camera time like a pro, and the typically PNW January rain held out to just a gentle mist. But enough to flatten my hair, yet oddly I didn't mind (I know...gasp).
I could stare at these faces for the rest of my life. This is my life. This is why the investment in photos is so important to me and my family. I could probably scan these photos with my eyes 40+ years from now and still feel what I felt this day. The sounds of Savannah's laughter, the smell of Holland's Katy Perry perfume as she snuggled up to me for a picture, my husband's hand on my back or a playful pat on the back side while we pulled close to each other.
You see, I am annoyingly crazy about taking pictures (or having pictures taken) because I don't want to forget - and I don't want my family to forget. If ever I'm down and out, I know exactly where to go to grasp that joyful familiarity and to recall that cherished moment.
It's not just a photo, it's life.