Sunday, October 27, 2013

Loving Through Images

Thumbing through stacks of photos while visiting my childhood home recently, reminded me just how important it is to preserve and treasure family history through images.  I found images of my father as a pudgy five year old in knickers with a pageboy haircut. In another photo my mother at about the same age, smiles in the direction of the camera the blue of her eyes lost in the black and white processing.  There were decks of newer photos too.  My mother was the photographer,  that is when she remembered the camera. She captured mostly holidays or special occasions.  The composition of all her her photos were problematic, the subjects rested on the bottom eighth of the photo showing the tops of heads, while most of the square print was wall and ceiling.  Standing in the middle of my old bedroom, holding the image of Auntie and Gene with their smiles running off the edge of the photo made me smile. Suddenly, I recalled that despite protests (my mother painstakingly took forever to snap a "bad" photo) she continued to be the family photographer.  When I was old enough, I  wrangled the camera from her. From then on I was absent from family photos.

I have a friend that takes self-portraits almost daily.  I stare her image. How does she do that? I couldn't. I thought. She holds all that she has become until that moment in the image. All the joys, the lessons and the pain.  I realize for the most part, I remain absent from photographs.  Although said to be photogenic, I do not like to like to have my photo taken.  Hyper-critical, whenever I am forced to be in front of a lens I hide behind the torso of another and peek. Just little bits of me show.

What would happen if I began the practice of a self portrait a day?  Would I come to discover the light within and learn to accept myself as I am?  Does how I look really have much to do with all the "inside" work?  I could learn to love.

One day my daughters may discover the series of self-portraits and hold them tightly and view them as gifts to be treasured.

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