Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Careful with the Camera

I take pictures when I am out and about. Our trip pictures are places we see or sites we visit; rarely do we stand in front a state sign or on the edge of a canyon while some stranger snaps us. We might be sorry someday that we have few pictures of ourselves, especially me who is the main picture-taker.

Recently it came to my attention that while many love to have their pictures taken, giving pristine poses and flashing coy smiles, some do not. For myself, I hate to see the loss of the person I used to be. It is hard to relish flab and wrinkles when I remember the feeling of taut skin, fresh and moist as unbroken lake water on a still day. Other friends hate their gray, their now ever-present bifolcals, or the scars from pre-cancerous burns. It doesn’t matter why, but that they are uncomfortable with being snapped. I think we ought to be considerate of their rathers.

This all came to me during a recent tea at my house where more than one of us was snapping shots. I heard someone gasp and moan when cameras came out, and I recognized her feelings. Another asked later where those pictures were going, where would they be used, and I recognized real discomfort. When I saw the pictures I took, I had a great group shot of everyone but one. She looked terrible to put it bluntly. I have too much respect for my friend to put up her picture publicly, so sharing the tea will have to remain a table top only.

While the tea was wonderful and warm and chatty and pleasant, I was left with some real thinking about pictures. I love having photographs from times past, and I study old family photos and studio takes looking for clues to who I am, whose face I wear.  I love candid shots that snap up the time and mood and season as much I like the faces. But I also remember that pictures were also one of my first horrors.

                                            My typical face when the camera came out.

My mother took me to the studio for portraits as soon as I was able. Many of those pictures are ones with tears. I fought the camera and wailed through them all. My mother was furious. What was I thinking? I have thought back and can’t remember WHY I cried so. I can feel those big lights, the goofy photographer, the toys jiggled in my face…nothing scary, but I cried. I hated it. How I wish I could recall what was in my mind, but I only remember the horrible sessions.

Now days EVERYONE has a camera of some kind in their hands, snapping here and there and actually invading our privacy at every turn. I remember years ago attending my son’s senior talent show. I was enjoying his music tremendously when another parent tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to move out of the way. Her husband wanted to set up video cameras to film THEIR daughter’s talent. The assumption was it was surely more important than my son’s. In dealing with them I missed part of my son’s time. Maybe everyone should put down the cameras and enjoy the moment instead of saving it on film.

Although I take a lot of pictures, I am nervous about it. I am well aware of invading the space of others. I ask permission often and most of the time people say, “Oh sure.” In a time where posting pictures means more sales, more bits of lame fame, or making social connections, pictures seem to be a given. Primitive people used to think a photo stole their souls or could be used for Black Magic. I doubt if such beliefs still linger, but there are people who just don’t want to be captured by cameras. So be considerate and try to see the other guy’s feelings, ridiculous as they might seem to you.  

Be careful with your camera.


Lynn said...

I agree with you about photos. My kids are the worst at snapping photos of me that are really bad and then they think nothing of it posting them. I always ask first. Just want to say that the childhood picture of you is adorable even though you didn't like your picture being taken. And how rude of those people to ask you to move. I agree - we should just enjoy the moment.

Susan said...

Good post, Bookie. It's true that some people hate having their photo taken.

We definitely should be considerate.

I know I dislike photos because I always cannot stand how fat I look. ha!

Your little face in the photo was so sad. Poor little dear.

I'll try to be considerate this upcoming holiday season. Susan

Sioux said...

Claudia--The photo of you on the swing is darling. The expression on your face--priceless.

I agree with Lynn. The people who wanted you to move were jerks. You're a nicer person (if you DID move) than I am.

And yes...we should spend more time just enjoying the moment and "photographing" it with our brain...

BECKY said...

I always love all the photos you post on here, Claudia! And that one of you as a little girl is soooo cute! You were...and still are....adorable! :)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

My mom cured me of not wanting to have my picture taken. Before she died, she made a point of always smiling or being silly for the camera when it came out. When I remarked on that as being a new behavior for her she said that she started hamming it up because she noticed, when going through old photo albums, that in almost every photo her own mother (my Gramma) was hiding her face or turning away. My mom said that she so wished my Gramma had allowed for pictures, even bad ones, because they mean so much to loved ones later on. I took that to heart. Some day, when my kids look back, the pics of me may not be flattering, but they will be there for the memories. All of that to say, smile for the camera. :)