Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Family Photographer

I love photos! I take them every chance I get. If we're going on vacation, you can count on me taking about a million of them. It drives my kids and husband crazy.

I also love to scrapbook, which is the next natural step after taking a bunch of photos. You HAVE to document it! How else are the kids going to remember their lives when they were children if it's not in some kind of format for them to look through? Looking at their pictures makes children think they remember exactly what they were doing and thinking, even if we know they were way too young to remember that incident.
It's also the best way to remember those that we loved and lost. Right after my grandmother died, I pulled out her old pictures of her childhood and tried my best to figure out some kind of an order things were supposed to go in. Let me tell you, when you don't know any of the people but one, this is really hard to do. But this was her life, her family, her history. Even though I wasn't there, I am still interested in it.
So now my dilemma. Nobody takes pictures of me. I am not so stupid as to think that if nobody takes pictures of me, nobody cares about me. But sometimes it feels like that. What if something happened to me? Would my boys remember me? Would they be able to tell their children about me if they don't have any pictures to refer back to?
Our last vacation, I did manage to get into a few of the pictures. One of them was of my husband and me on our 20th anniversary. The waitress took it for us. It was out of focus. Another one was also taken of my husband and me on our anniversary, also by a total stranger. She did it from 10 feet away, so we're a little small. It was in focus, though. The rest of the pictures of me I took myself. Thank goodness someone invented the "self-portrait" setting on my camera. Evidently, that's the only way I'm ever going to get a picture of me. Of course, it's really hard to get a good picture of yourself. Great.

When we go on vacation, I know my job. I'm the family photographer. I'm ALWAYS behind the camera. I know that nobody else cares about the pictures I take. Now. I know that one day they will. Will they notice that I'm not in the pictures? Will they wonder if I was even there? I kind of feel like my own mortality is wrapped up in these pictures. That I don't exist without them. Maybe I'm just being melodramatic. But I wonder how many people feel this way. I bet I'm not the only one.

Originally posted September 4, 2009

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