Be the ‘you’ in your photographs

Kathy Krugercontentment, perspective17 Comments

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 in 2011 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. Three years on, and I still feel sad.

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.

Linking up with the lovely Grace for FYBF.


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Kathy KrugerBe the ‘you’ in your photographs

17 Comments on “Be the ‘you’ in your photographs”

  1. Marie Colantoni Pechet

    This is a good reminder for me to actually BE in photos! Sometimes, I can look at a less-than-perfect photo and it still brings back the feeling of the day. Other times, I can see a perfect photo but feel like it didn’t capture the scene. My sister takes photos that tell a story – she will take a picture of the hotel sign, the rental car, etc. and weave them all into a story of the event or trip. I envy that but cannot do it. My husband takes technically perfect photos, but to me, they often capture the scene but not the feeling. I take photos that are often blurry, have too much background and not enough subject, but they do remind me of being there.
    My favorite photos, though, are ones with of my kids when the joy is bright on their face. Like making Asian dumplings the other night. (I love that you can make those too, and now that is part of my warm memory when I see the photo!)

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thank you Marie – that’s a lovely comment. And I am the same as you – rarely actually in the photos. It was nice to get the yoga pics done with the kids, even if it was primarily for the website. I’m going to try to focus on taking photos like your sister too.

  2. Jody at Six Little Hearts

    I have a favourite picture of me at the base of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro – totally adored that holiday! The picture of your Daughter in the snow is just magical!
    We lost a camera coming home from Brazil full of pictures of our stay in Mexico City. I am obsessed with that missing piece of our history together to this day!

  3. Debbish

    I’m sick at the moment, so life in general sucks, but yesterday (while wallowing) I was looking through some online pics via Facebook. Pictures of people having fun. I spent a moment feeling envious of those in the pics – slim, attractive, smiling and happy. I know if the pic was of me I’d see a fat person and feel shame. In fact there would be no picture as I don’t allow myself to be photographed. But it occurred to me that I SHOULD be allowed to have my fun times documented and I am ALLOWED to be smiling and having fun etc. The title of your post – being the YOU in your photos reminded me of that decision.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Yes you have to put yourself in the picture and try not to get FB envy of everyone’s great holidays, meals etc etc. Our memories of great times should be there to help us when we get down (and sick), but sometimes it is hard to drag them to the front of mind during hard times – that’s when photos can be the jolt back to realise the good times will happen again. Take care.

  4. Sarah Barrett

    What a horrible experience! I’d hate having our photos stolen. I imagine it would feel like your memories are taken from you. I don’t share much on Facebook, but reading this makes me want too so to have a back up. xS

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Sarah – I am still sad. And YES back up (she says and she hasn’t really backed up for a while)! I think of all of FB’s (or Instagram, Pinterest etc) issues, the archiving thing is pretty important.

  5. Denise

    I take so many photos of my son but I what I need to get better at is putting myself in the picture. When he’s older, he’s going to be like: Mum where were you? I know what you mean about remembering the good times. I sometimes forget how wet and cold it gets in (my home country) Ireland – not as cold as Canada but it’s up there. We really do have such a great outdoor lifestyle here in Australia. Great photos!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Denise. Maybe it’s time for Mum and son selfies? I think it is always a case of not appreciating what we have until we change scenery, lose something. Sad but human nature I guess.

  6. Tegan Churchill

    Oh I couldn’t imagine losing all of those pictures! I wonder too if it’s a reminder to print our photos out more and have them as real momentos. When I was little and even now, one of my favourite things is to flick through photo albums (either my own or my families) and talk about the memories that they bring up.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I reckon we have lost a lot of that fun in the digital age, because even when we don’t get our photos ‘stolen’, we forget to look at them when we just store them in a computer. Losing the video in particular of meeting Little Yang still makes me cry a bit sometimes.


    I have so many photos that are special to me and that I look at over and over again but I have to admit I’m in virtually none of them. Maybe it’s time for me to actually exist in print so later down the road my kids can look back on our life and see I was part of it.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I imagine you have many more photos of meals to remember than yourself in the frame – maybe you should rope Raffles into being a mini-photographer along with his mini-chef duties. And I reckon we also need to make a special effort to get whole-family pics. X

  8. Jean

    So you lived in Alberta or B.C. Not all photos capture the real me at that time in life, but many do. There have been serious tragedies in life..

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