Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Picture

We weren't a big picture-taking family, and that was a lot more common when I was growing up, way back in the pre-digital era. We certainly had some photos, and a collage of family pictures on our wall, but very few posed or professional prints. And that didn't seem unusual as some of our friends and family had hardly any pictures on display in their homes. It was more common to see Biblical mottos and calenders than family pictures. In some Mennonite homes, this is still true, but definitely less common. But even now it seems there are very few pictures of me that have been taken since my wedding day. For one, I'm always the one behind the camera and more likely to be the photographer than the subject. But the other reason hides a crippling disability: I am extremely un-photgenic.

People who have taken my picture have marveled at how unlike myself I look in a picture, how there is a vast divide in the resemblance between me in person and me on glossy paper. Sometimes, I get lucky and the picture looks even better than I do in person! But more often the image is a sea of washed out fair skin and squinted eyes behind eye glasses reflecting a light glare, and abnormally blond hair that, even the Mister agrees, is much darker in real life than in a captured image.

Attempts to produce a decent picture of me under controlled conditions have been catastrophic. Once, a bee landed and stung me for no reason. The outdoors are a particularly difficult environment as the daylight seems to mutate my features and coloring in horrid ways. Our outdoor wedding pictures are of two camps: The Mister, looking dashing, composed, and photogenic in ever picture. Me, squinting at the sun with unnaturally yellow hair while the photographer yelled "Try not to squint!" and "Relax your face!" as he positioned my head to stare directly into the noon sun and my corneas burned.

I pity the photographer faced with capturing my image. But it was with eternal optimism that I herded us down to the park one autumn day for a photo session with a friend who does some professional photography as a side business, in hopes of capturing a nice picture to give out to our families around the holidays. One that will be more recent than our already three-year-old picture. She must have realized the difficulty of the assignment, because our friend charged us nothing. Yes, it's that bad. Then, things went wrong from the beginning. Our clothes were wrinkled from the waist down from sitting. I kept forgetting to take off my glasses. The Mister, who always has a pen in his shirt pocket, had a pen in his pocket. And then the wind came and blew loose strands of my hair to bits. Oh, and no pictures of my feet because my good shoes are tucked away in a box, under other boxes, under a tarp, to protect them from construction dust. This was not going well. When the pictures came back, it was just as I feared. More than half were unusable, and the rest were just slightly better. Sigh. Grudgingly, with some touch ups, there was one that resembled us if you squinted hard enough and viewed it through your peripheral vision rather than straight on. But in the end, it still wasn't Christmas card material. It was more in the category of passport photos and other horrid images you might have on a picture ID card.

So for now my favorite picture of the Mister and I will remain a slightly dated one taken in a spontaneous moment of root beer drinking and fair frolic, in which I look candid and informal, and the Mister resembles a llama. ;-)

Oh, and some of you may still receive a copy of the recent awful picture of us in your Christmas card. I'm SO sorry!


  1. Can I relate to this?? Oh honey, can I ever! The card we're sending out was taken in Scott's mom's basement and looks like we put gauze over the lens. Then I wrote "Merry Christmas" (when I edited the pic) over the front of my shirt so I didn't look so, um, "healthy". Let's invent a blond-friendly camera that makes our hair look normal color and like we have seen sunlight in the past 5 years - we'll make a mint! Plus we'll make it for "blonds" so it'll be easy to understand and use. LOL! This post was hilarious!

  2. I just had to leave a comment after reading this post but couldn't think of anything appropriate to say besides 'a picture's worth a thousand words' and I'm not sure that would make you feel any better. :-}

  3. I am the same way, every picture I pose turns out horrible. I think I am still too Amish. But pictures taken of me on the spur of the moment are much better. Those are rare.

  4. I am also not the least bit photogenic... half my problem is I can't relax in front of the camera. Recently I had someone take photos of me, and a few came out all right. Like Katie, I think I am still too Amish.

  5. I just hate pictures of myself. No matter how hard I try to pose correctly and follow instructions, my eyes are always closed. Hate that.

  6. I like that picture! It looks like you had a lot of fun.

    Our last "posed" family picture contained a ten-day old screaming child and a mom with a very crooked part because I was up wee hours dealing with a ten-day old screaming child. Those bad photography ads sucked us in with all them delightful sleeping newborns.

  7. I share in your dilemma. I have thought some about having a photo taken for our annual Christmas letter. We haven't had a picture taken of the two of us in some time now and since I don't see my family members much anymore, it would be nice to get and give picture this Christmas. Well, it is not an easy thing to get a picture of yourselves. I am not photogenic either... particularly in the winter when my skin is pallid and my hair comes out looking green in some photos. The good thing is that I have a photo "touch-up" program... wonder if it will make me skinny :) hmmmm I think I'll have to experiment with that... except if it makes me skinny in would make my sweetie look anorexic... oops guess I'd better leave that alone.

    I'm sure those recieving the Christmas picture aren't concerned about anything but hearing that we are happy and healthy.

  8. I can totally relate, dear! We had our photos taken recently for the new church directory, and well... *gag*.. ugh, I hate how I look. On the other hand, my mister looks so distinguished, he's aged better than I. LOL! I do think that photo is just too cute of you and your *ahem* mister. Hahaha!

    Haven't been in for a while... so glad I had time to come back and visit for a few. Must catch up on reading what's been going on with you.

    Blessings to you and yours! ♥

  9. Boy, I feel your pain!! I think I took one good picture in my life. Well, maybe two. Why, oh, why does it never look like what I think I see in the mirror??

  10. I think this picture of you is great! ;D Sorry about your bee sting and trouble with photo shoots! haha! ;D I'm always behind the camera as well, and ALWAYS look heavier than I THINK I am...note I say *think*...until I see it in the picture and say NOOOOOO....CAN'T BE?! LOL! ;D


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