Sunday, March 4, 2012
MINING PHOTOS FOR INFO
People from gone by eras weren’t the fiends we are at capturing every moment with a snapshot. Maybe because they didn’t have the ability to Photo Shop and clear up a spotty complexion or under eye circles. Before digital cameras, I cut off heads, feet, people standing beside another person. I didn’t know until I got the film developed much, much later, which would account for a lack of photos from significant events up to about twelve years ago when I went digital.
My grandmother once showed me an article about Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance explaining we needed to pray for our cousin. Cousin, I didn’t remember him. She, then, pulled out some poorly focused black and white photos of the last Feiock reunion he attended. She pointed out a solid looking, middle aged man in a dark suit. That pretty much described one third of the people in the photo. Nope, didn’t remember him. As news reports came out about his questionable connections to the Mafia, I stared at the photo. Did he have sinister ties? He looked like most of the other German Irish immigrant offspring in my family photo. Sometimes photos lie, other times they scream their message.
Candid photos can tell us so much. COSMO magazine feature shows pictures of famous couples and explains how their relationship is going by their body language in snapshots. I have to admit I initially decided to take chance on my fiancé based on a couple of casual photos. Not ones featuring his athletic ability, sports car, or beautiful hazel eyes, but ones with his children. The ones that grabbed me were the laughing, goofy, and having a good time photos. It told me this was a man who I could be at ease with as opposed to being stiffly formal and ever so proper. Photos reveal facets of our personality we don’t share with the general public.
My mother who is a conservative Christian woman once had a wild side. We have the photos to prove it. She denies the dark haired woman in two piece bathing suit posing in the snow is her, but rather her sister, despite the fact her sister is blond.
Photographs remind us how much our lives have changed too. Sometimes I look back at pictures of my children when they were young. It amazes me that they were ever so small, but what I find more shocking is the browbeaten young mother standing beside them. A woman not even out of her twenties exhausted from living with an abusive husband. Pictures really do tell a story, often one you don’t want to remember.
Yesterday, on our search for an elusive mouse, my daughter and I moved the fridge and found an old Christmas photo with my oldest son with his ex-wife. They are divorced now, emphasizing how life changes. The photo, tattered and dirty, captured a moment when we were all happy or at least I think we were. Maybe my son knew then there were cracks in his marriage. Maybe now, he can look back and see the splintering since he now knows what to look for.
Once you know what to look for you can sometimes find it in the photos. My grandmother confided that her mother was taller than her father. At six feet tall more than a hundred years ago my great grandmother stood head and shoulders above other women, and a few men, including my great grandfather. They never stood side by side in any pictures. Apparently, men had the height issue thing back then too.
I can’t say I was ever fond of having my picture taken. The fact I looked too much like me as opposed to a model or movie star upset me. I’m not sure what miracle I thought would take place in the split second of the camera shutter closing that would transform me into someone else. Once my daughter received a camera as a gift, I became an impromptu model as I did laundry, made breakfast, or gave the dog a bath.
Years later, I have become as bad as my daughter taking my camera with me to snap photos, especially of me and my sweetie as we embark on our joined lives together. We often ask total strangers to take our photos. Some are better photographers than others. I no longer wish I was someone else in the photos. Instead, my smile is wide and bright because I cannot imagine being happier than I am right now.
Maybe I will have grandchildren, who will look at the photos and remark how in love we look. I’m betting they will be more like their parents and will ridicule our hairstyles and clothes.
Why do you like looking at photos? Do you think photos depict an accurate image? Tell me why you think the above picture is significant. Winner gets free copy of PUPPY LOVE, my newest book. There might be more than one winner.