Photo Op: Why I Take the Pictures

kodak camera

When I was a teen, the easiest way to take pics and keep photos was a Kodak pocket instamatic that used 110 film. I wasn’t a photographer by any means, and I definitely never had a good camera. Most of the time I picked up some disposable camera somewhere so I could at least have some sort of pictures to document the occasion. As long as I can remember, I have had bulletin boards somewhere in my room or home that was filled with photos. Thankfully, during my high school and college days, my best friends always had a camera. And they faithfully shared the pictures with me!

I realize it’s a different day. Years ago it was only famous people, besieged by the paparazzi, who were subjected to unwanted photo ops. Now, we use our phones to take pictures of all the babies and all the kids and all the friends that we adore. Oh, and we take a “few” of ourselves. ‘Cause let’s face it, we’re all adorable in our own way!!
Yep. There are SO many pictures. There’s a social media app just for our pictures. No more need for an instamatic when you have INSTAGRAM!

“… of whom I am the worst.”
I know. I know. There are inappropriate times for a snapshot. Some people just don’t want to pose for a picture. Others just don’t want to pause for a picture. I get it!
And I’m sorry. (OK. I am mostly not.) But I’m not going to stop taking the pictures. And here’s why…

1. I love to FEEL the moment. And pictures do that for me.

A moment comes and goes so quickly. The landscape and scenery, or the expression on a face, will probably never look exactly as it does in that moment. Taking a picture helps me to record that moment so that I can remind myself of how I felt when I saw the raindrops hit my granddaughter’s cheek. Or when the sky was so blue against the snowy mountains and green grass, because it was a blend of winter and spring in the same day. Or when the city sidewalks were filled with people that will never be in the same place at the same time again.

2. I love to HOLD the memory. And pictures do that for me.

Much to my chagrin, I forget. I want to remember the moments, but I don’t. I can’t. There are too many of them. Pictures help recreate the moments lost. While it’s possible that the moment was worse than the picture actually portrays (someone screaming or pouting), there’s something about the visual of my three-year-old son that makes it real. I remember that little boy. He doesn’t exist anymore, but the picture reminds me that he did.

3. I love to to SEE the magic. And pictures do that for me.

I use the word magic cautiously. What I mean is that I love the enchantment of a moment. A picture captures something that brings perspective to a moment. While a picture may not tell the whole story, it does shine a light on the power of the present. At a moment in time, family members gathered around a campfire. Or siblings made a human pyramid that fell the moment the picture was snapped. Or cousins walked hand in hand down the sidewalk.
Magical, enchanting moments that will never be again.

4. I love to SHARE the message. And pictures do that for me.

I love words. And the reason I love words is because words create stories. Images do too. A good story usually has a meaningful message. A scrapbook or photo album can read like a book, and as we thumb through the pages of pictures, we get a sense of the lives people have lived. If you come to my home, you’ll find pictures everywhere. They send a message to people who visit us. They speak of my life with my hubby and my kids and my grandkids … of the rest of my family … of my friends … of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done.

It’s true that pictures aren’t real life. Sometimes they are even altered or filtered. And you certainly don’t get the whole story from just a picture.
But for me, pictures are a journal. As I look at photos, old or recent, I rehearse what I felt at the moment. And I hold in my heart the enchantment of that moment with those people.
And I preach the gospel to myself once again: ALL GRACE. ALL THE TIME.

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