Growing up in a family that loves to take pictures, you learn how to avoid all the camera flashes and take cover as soon as someone whips out their camera. I have albums filled with baby pictures, and I enjoy flipping through them, pushing my cuteness under my mother’s nose and learning the story behind each one.However, these pictures gradually became less frequent as I grew older until they stopped altogether with the occasional obligatory passport photos or graduation pics.
You’re always cute as a baby, but when you’re older, there is a great chance your pictures might turn out bad. Another great thing about baby pictures is that they’re never forced, which is more than I can for family portraits.
Family portraits are a different matter altogether. You have to dress up and look all proper and loving when in all actuality you might be on non-speaking terms with your sister, annoyed at your mother for meddling in your private affairs, angry with your kid for sneaking off behind your back. They feel rather fake to me, and woe betide the person who blinks or looks away the moment the picture is taken. I wouldn’t want to be subject to everyone’s irritation as they try to strike a perfect pose once again!
Keep in mind that it was more difficult to figure out whether a picture came out all right a few years ago. We didn’t have digital cameras; we only had rolls of film that we had to completely exhaust before we could see how our pictures turned out like.
When I look at the occupants of the photo above, I don’t see a happy bunch. I see a father who probably wishes to be anywhere but in the picture frame, I see a boy who can’t wait to pull away and go play with his friends, I see a girl who’s itching to take off her bonnet… and in the background, there’s a mother who in her frustration at failing to get her family to smile just took the picture anyway.
I would much rather see a spontaneous family portrait, one where smiles aren’t forced and all expressions and laughs are genuine. Or if you’re like me and like to avoid photos altogether, you may choose to rely on your memories. Fellow blogger Derek Childs put it forward more eloquently:
True, a photo does seal a memory in time forever and is a great way to remember an occurrence that transpired in one’s life. The question I am going to ask however is; how could I, or anyone else for that matter, ever honestly forget a moment in life of such significance or import?
If someone doesn’t want their picture taken, don’t force them into it. Chances are it’ll turn out stiff and less than happy anyway. When I used to be forced into pictures (back when films were used), the roll of film – or my pictures at least – would get mysteriously burned. I had nothing to do with it, but it taught those photographers a lesson, haha.
How do you feel about family portraits? What about when someone snaps a picture of you when you don’t want? Did you jinx films too?
This was written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words.