You know smiling, happy, presentable (well mostly). From posed portraits that portray you at your best (supposedly), to glamour photos that make you look even better (I’ve never actually had a true glam shot, but I hope I’d look better). Then there are family photos that freeze rich and rare memories for posterity, holiday images that transform you back in time and place, and special candid snaps that capture something precious, but fleeting – surprise, joy, delight. Of course there are those photos that you’d just as soon forget too!
Photos are reminders that we can look good, feel great, be happy – if we just choose to hold onto the moment. But we don’t, do we?
When we lived in Canada last year we took lots of photos (and video).There were plenty of precious moments to capture the kids – especially little Yang as we celebrated his first birthday and he crawled and wobbled and walked from baby to toddler.
Of course we took lots of scenery shots – of snow-clad mountains and winter wonderland scenes and flakes fluttering like frozen butterflies. And I took photos (and video) of the kids enjoying it all – snow drifting down around them, of little Yang rugged up like a mini Michelin man, of Miss Yin standing proudly beside our snowman, the two of them sliding down a hill on a toboggan, Miss Yin smiling on the ski slopes.
The images capture looks of wonder (and a little fright from little Yang), squeals of delight, peals of laughter. I wound up featuring in a few pics with the kids when Mr Yang bothered to use the camera, and we have a few nice photos together as a family.
We travelled to the Rocky Mountains with my parents, and took photos beside icy lakes and frozen waterfalls, pictures in front of the gorgeous log cabin we stayed in and panoramas of the spectacular peaks.
Later we snapped pics with the friends we’d made, summery shots to remind us of the (very) short warm season we experienced, and then photos from our trip to New York (I actually managed two trips to New York – one with my Mum and sister and the second with the family – I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but hey – I got to go to New York twice). There was lots of video too.
And then in mid-September, a week after we returned from New York, my laptop and both our still and video cameras were stolen in a break-in. I’d backed up the photos and video to my computer, but with everything stolen, we’d lost the lot. I was devastated – as though I’d been robbed of the memories too.
Fortunately we’d emailed some photos to family and friends and I’d posted images on Facebook, while a small selection was saved on a USB drive and my parents, sister and some friends had taken photographs too. Unfortunately we lost all of the video, plus all the video we’d taken on our trip to China to adopt little Yang and revisit Miss Yin’s ‘home-town’ and meet her foster mother. Did I mention I was devastated!!
Later I was reminded that whilst I no longer had video of Little Yang taking his first steps – “he’s still walking isn’t he?’” Later still I had to wonder whether Serendipity (with her friend Perspective) was skulking in the shadows with the thief that sunny September morning to remind me that there are many things we can lose in life (houses, health, livelihoods, limbs, even loved ones), but that nothing remembered with fondness is ever really lost.
Of course we took lots of photos and video during the rest of our time in Canada –of good times with friends, the rich earthy colours of Fall, snow once again and fun on the ski slopes.
We holidayed in California and captured many (obligatory) happy memories from Disneyland, snapped the famous Hollywood sign and chronicled our trip up the California Coast to San Francisco (including a stunning sunset over a rolling sea mist at Big Sur).
We captured our Canadian Christmas (which unfortunately wasn’t white) and I took lots more scenery shots because where we lived was so beautiful that I still couldn’t really believe it.
And when we arrived back home in Australia, I couldn’t believe how beautiful our beaches are, nor just how big and bright our Aussie sky is, so I took photos of course.
It rained in Canada – a lot. There were many more wet, cold and bleak days than there were blue-sky days. Sometimes I cuddled up to loneliness for warmth.
Our photos don’t capture the grey skies or cabin fever. They paint a quixotic picture of life. It’s this picture I choose to remember, with or without the visual proof.
I’d love to hear about your favourite photos, and how you hold onto the memories and feelings they capture. Do your photos capture the ‘real’ you? Let me know in the comments below.
Oh and please share the ‘love’ with your friends!