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!