Family Photos

A little while ago I was looking for a pick-me-up.  I naturally turned to the first place we all turn when we're bored and looking for "something" to fill our time/the gaping hole in our hearts: facebook.  I came across a friend who has a lot of pictures from their childhood posted on their facebook, and it gave me a lift.  This particular friend is a full-fledged grown up, so a lot of her childhood pictures are black and white and/or have that wonderful retro quality to the colouring that make them look even more innocent and nostalgic than childhood photos already do.

I realized how many photos we have now that are overly posed and processed: so many of our photos are professionally done or attempts at looking like they were professionally done.  Everyone is standing up straight and wearing make up and trying to look as pretty as they can.  Or they're all artistic with a shallow depth of field and people looking off to the side like they don't realize that the camera is there and are just so wrapped up in their own deep thoughts.  BORING.

I decided to go further.  First I googled "childhood photos", but mostly came up with boring professional images of children or pictures from news stories on obesity and diabetes in children.  Not quite the nostalgic romp I was looking for.  I went even further.  I searched "family photos" this time, and got a whole new kind of fun.

Once you scroll past the annoying professional photos that all look the same you get something else: homemade family photos that all look the same.  There is a certain charm to these I had never noticed.

Sometimes they are clearly planned or taken at a fancy event: everyone's dressed nicely with make up or matching colours.  Sometimes it's obvious that everyone was chowing down in the backyard BBQ when someone said "Hey!  We should do a picture!"  And then a painful hour passed where the instigator tried desperately to round everyone up, get them all to stand up straight, convince the Moms that they didn't have to fix their hair, and tried to set up the camera with the auto-timer.

Rows of families standing next to each other, adults in the back, kids in the front, grandparents in the middle.  Even when they were dressed up, there's still a lovely at-home quality to these that is lost in the professional shots.  I was struck by the awesome universality of the lame family photo.

Check it out:

Then I came across this little nugget and thought "Hey, do I know these guys?"

Oh, old friends, how I've missed you.  Let this be a reminder to you, now and forever, that family matters.

1 comment:

  1. What about summer after summer of the same staged photo in front of the same rock stairs?