Posing for Pictures

April 7, 2010

Day 10 of Unemployment

I am at my parent’s house this week cleaning out some closets in preparation for moving my things home. In the process, I have come across several yearbooks, scrapbooks, boxes of pictures and the like and it has me thinking. I noticed that every picture is horrible: bad angles, over exposure, people’s heads cut out of group shots, awkward facial expressions, poor posture and so on. All of these pictures are from before the era of the digital camera. My how life has changed.

On Easter Sunday I was taking a picture with my mother in front of some lovely flowers. Just before the camera clicked I immediately went into photo shoot mode. I took a pageant stance/ballet’s third position, placed my hand on my hip, tilted my chin and smiled making sure not to squint in the bright morning sun. Who am I and what have I done with the awkward to photograph girl from 10 years ago? DIGITAL CAMERAS! They have revolutionized how we capture the moments of our lives and I dare say, it’s not for the better. I may look better (IMO) but it’s not a very real moment. Take a look at the photos your friends are posting on facebook. In 9 out of 10 of the images every girl in the picture has her hand on her hip and several are making that stupid pouty lipped, duck face (for those people please refer to antiduckface.com – yes, it’s a real website). Once the image is taken we immediately review it to make sure we look great and in the event that we don’t, we take another shot.

Back in the day of the 35mm we didn’t have this luxury. There was no way to review what we had taken and film was expensive and a hassle to change out so we didn’t take multiple shots of the same, posed moment. Thanks to this, I have a half of a lifetime’s worth of awkward, unedited, unattractive but very real images. Am I ashamed of that picture from the 7th grade homecoming dance where I look like an crazy dwarf with unkempt hair?¬† Yeah, a little. But I’m proud that that awkward phase of my life was captured on film.

I’m a little jealous of the kids of today. Every photo that their parents will keep stored on their external hard drives and on random in their digital picture frames around their homes, will be relatively flawless. Little Sally’s hair will be in place, the trash can in the background will be edited out, the color will be boosted to make the grass greener and the sky bluer and so on. These kids will spend their entire lives thinking they were perfect children as all of the evidence of their¬† grass stained onesies and the reflections off of their glasses will be eliminated as mom simply presses *delete*.

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