Years ago, two of my friends lost their mother. They said one of their regrets was that they had very few pictures of her, because she didn’t like to be photographed.
I was sad to hear that, but at the same time, I totally understood where she was coming from. I loathe being in pictures. This is not a new development. Since I can remember, I’ve tried to stand in the back, behind people, or offered to be the one who takes the picture instead. And it’s not really a secret as to why – I just don’t love the way I look.
Anyone who reads this blog knows me well enough to not be surprised to hear this. And most people who know me also aren’t immune from watching me gain and lose - and gain - weight many times through the years. You'll also agree that I’m the one that will encourage others to be in pictures and tell me that I do NOT practice what I preach.
But recently, I’ve been struck by something pretty powerful. I’m not ever going to be as thin as I was however many years ago. My hair will never be that full again. I’ll never have fewer lines on my face than I do right now. And when I do look back at pictures when I WAS thinner or younger or tanner or whatever-er, sure, I notice these things – but the reason I’m in the pictures in the first place is because I’m capturing memories of people and places.
I’m lucky enough to have traveled to some amazing locations and I hope more are in my future. But in so many of them, I just have landscape shots, because I didn’t want to be in the picture. There’s just one of us at the Grand Canyon. Only one from a day of kayaking through the mangroves on Grand Turk. I skipped a shot entirely at The Southernmost Point at Key West.
On girls’ trips, I would only ever agree to far-away pictures, and certainly wouldn't agree to any close ups.
Selfies with or without friends? Are you kidding?
And what’s saddest is that there’ve been lots of times where I’d offer to take a picture of a couple, and they’d offer to reciprocate with me and my husband, but I declined. How short-sighted and silly. Now, we have those memories of the place, but not of us AT that place.
So I’m coming around. I’d still prefer to be photographed from above rather than below. In soft light instead of harsh. And definitely with other people in the frame. But mostly, it’s time for me to create some permanent memories with me in them.
Two friends were nearly dumbstruck this weekend when I shared the news that I wanted to be sure to capture images of the three of us TOGETHER. My husband is happy that we’ll have more pictures of us. And I hope when the time comes for people to write my eulogy, my friends and family will have lots of photo memories to reflect on the laughter of the places we’ve been and the times we’ve shared – because face it – the friends I’ve surrounded myself with don’t care a bit about that other stuff.