Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Are There No Pictures of Me?

I have noticed when I am putting together photo albums, or when reviewing vacation photos to post on Facebook to communicate how joyful and normal my family is to the world, or when someone just needs a photo of me that I have a hard time finding one. The reason is simple: I am usually the one taking the pictures.

It doesn't occur to Husband to take pictures. I'm not sure if he has mastered how to take them on his IPad. I know he does not know how to take them on his office issued phone. That would require a level of engagement beyond his interests. If taking pictures promised a hastening to the start of Football season or came with a free donut, that would be a different story. Until that time, taking pictures happens only when strangers ask, or familial guilt is successfully dealt.

Teenagers 1 & 2 do take pictures, just not of family members. They take pictures of the dogs, screenshots of a final FIFA score on XBox One, a new pair of shoes, a cool car parked next to our shitty car, a Taco Bell Chalupa, and I'm sure things I do not want to know about. They do not take pictures of their parents as we are not Instagram-worthy. Their pictures are visual anecdotes.

So, there are very few pictures of me. Part of this is my fault as I have not mastered the art of the Selfie. I always look like a giant bobble head version of myself with more chins than I'd care to perpetuate. I am not sleeplessly bothered by the lack of photo documentation, but I am intrigued.

I know, someday, my kids will want a handful of pictures of me when I am long gone, unless of course I do something so hateful in the next few years that they will cut me out of the three pictures that do exist. Barring that potential offense though, they're going to want a picture of me in a CVS frame somewhere in their apartment or guest room of their house. If this is going to happen, it is incumbent upon me to make it happen. I must ask others to grapple with my phone to document my existence. I must make it happen because that is my role.

Every marriage or family has a balance of duties spoken and unspoken and this holds true for picture taking as well. There is the Chronicler and the Experiencer. It doesn't occur to Husband or Teenagers 1 & 2 to take photos because they are in the moment. They are doing it, whatever it is. They are too busy doing it to take the time to recognize that they will want to remember it. Of course the memory is forever theirs, the picture simply shuffles the memory to the top of their mental DVR. And that is as it should be. I'd rather they be doing than just watching.

I'm still not the greatest at taking pictures. I have gotten better over the years at filtering what kind of pictures we all want to look at, though I still take too many picture of the ocean. I don't mind being the Chronicler, though I really need a better title because that sounds like a small town newspaper from an Andy Hardy movie. Still, I don't mind it, because I catch my kids, every now and then, during a commercial leafing through a photo album to the point where they will actually pause their show and call me over and ask me if I remember that baseball game or that day at Universal Studios. They actually take a moment from the boredom, stress and uncertainty of their lives to review evidence of the big and small moments of awe, ahhh, and omg that have shaped who they are and who they continue to become.

So I will keep snapping away despite their protests and glares; and I will find ways to appear, Zelig like if I have to, in as many shots as I can beg off of strangers or my intrepid yet technically clueless husband. And until I think of a better name than Chronicler, I am making myself a cape, because a cape makes everything cooler.

No comments:

Post a Comment