Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Problem with Pictures

I took a lot of pictures in high school. Ask anyone who was there, I was typically the girl with the camera in front of my face. My friends were more or less always annoyed by my insistence on committing every single moment to film. Making people freeze in mid-kiss or asking them to do that thing they just did over and over and over again, trying to catch it. And this was before digital cameras. All of these pictures required the expense of film and developing.

I have a lot fewer pictures of college. Some, enough, I guess, but not nearly as many as high school. But here's the thing: no one, and I mean NO ONE remembers me in college as the girl with the camera in front of her face.

I was active in high school: I was in speech and drama and academic team and I went and I competed and I acted silly and had sleepovers and called boys and then totally froze on the phone. I did all of the things you did. I had inside jokes and wrote abysmal poetry and cried myself to sleep at night and laughed myself to sleep at night. I was an overachiever if ever the world has seen one. But I was honestly more interested in standing to the side and taking pictures than of actually participating and enjoying life. I always felt like I was right there at the edge and not in the middle of it, so I gave myself an excuse to be on the edge. I took my camera everywhere and I snapped constantly.

In college, I wasn't just in the middle, I wallowed in the middle. I participated in a lot less - radio and forensics were about it, but I was involved in everything. I was never without something to do, never bored, never left out, never alone. And, so I got caught up from time to time and didn't remember to take pictures.

Now, here I am, technology on my side, digital camera and a blog to show off things so I don't even have to make prints. I have a flickr account, a facebook account and I would never have to print another picture as long as I lived if I didn't want to. It would be okay.

And despite this, I don't take many pictures. I want to, I really do. I didn't manage to take any pictures of Maren's birthday, none. On Sunday, my girls dressed in their loveliest items and there was snow everywhere and any mom worth her salt would have taken some pictures of them running around pink faced in the snow. But not me.

I carry my camera around. But I don't take it out and take pictures. Because I don't want to stop what I'm doing. At Maren's birthday, I opened packaging and helped her unwrap stuff. I watched her and laughed and played and helped her build with her brand new blocks. I should have taken pictures. I know I should have taken pictures. There is a voice in my head constantly telling me to take more pictures, to do it now, that I can still enjoy all this with a camera in front of my face. And another voice telling the first voice to shut up. We are having fun.


bernthis said...

i have access to all the same and I never take photos. I don't want to stop what I am doing to do so. I think it's great to just want to live in the moment. I let others take the pictures for me.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I don't remember you with a camera in front of your face. I remember you in the thick of things at speech tournaments and the drama productions. I remember your great laugh, but I don't remember any cameras. Either I wasn't paying attention or you didn't do that until your senior year.

Jessi said...

Bernthis - It is great to live in the moment, but I wonder if my kids will understand why there are so few pictures of them...

Jenn - You are too sweet. Or it was all in my head. Either way, I don't feel that way anymore, I just can't seem to reattach the camera to my face.