22 October 2015

embrace the camera

Messy hair? Don't care.

It's about to get emotional up in here. Listen, are you afraid to get in front of a camera? Are the only pics you have of yourself poorly lit duckface selfies or shots of your feet below a steaming latte? I want you to consider, for 60 hot seconds, what photo you want your family- especially kids, if you have them- to have of you years from now. And then make that photo happen. Whether it's you in your gardening gloves pulling weeds, or stirring your famous chili on the stove, or sitting in the sunshine with your favorite sunglasses on- think of what a treasure that picture will be someday to your people. 

What double chin?! #winning
I don't have it in front of me, but somewhere there is a rare photo of my mom from when I was little that I used to stare at for long moments. In it, she is about to leave on a date with my dad. Her hair is sleek and styled, she has on lipstick, and she’s wearing a fabulous red outfit. I must have been seven years old maybe?, putting this at 1982-ish. I can still see that picture in my mind, how relaxed and happy her smile was. When I was a teenager, I would marvel at how young she looked in the picture- and how much of myself I could see in her face. Needless to say, I love that pic.

Look!  I was there, in my own life! Also, Go Cubs.
Now, back to you and I. About a year ago, I read about an “embrace the camera” challenge. Since then, I try to at least take a phone selfie with the kids every once in a while. I want them to be able to see my smile and study my eyes and search for clues about who I was, one day when I’m gone. Even better would be to plan out a picture that captures some element of our life together- me cheering at a soccer game, or being cheesy dancing to music in the van at school pick-up- or the above ideas related to hobbies and favorites. Of course the best, the piece-de-resistance, would be not only getting a picture with myself in it, but printing it out so that my kids can easily access it. I may never reach that level of organization, follow-through, and comfort with seeing my face in print, but I can dream.  

Teaching my mom the art of the selfie.
Those of you who have lost a parent or someone else close to you, you get this. You’d give a lot to get a couple more pics of them from the past, and you wouldn’t give a rip about whether they had a beach body or glam hair.

At any rate, my encouragement to you today is to hand your hubby, friend, or kid some camera device and say cheese. Or pay a professional to get you a photo you feel good about.  You may regret it when you first glance at the picture and that mean voice in your head points out your one gray hair or your blah-blah number of extra pounds. But you just tell that voice where to go, and think instead of the voice of your family 15 years from now thanking you for embracing the camera, for them. 

A "real" camera can take a better quality picture, but the
best camera is always the one you have with you.

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