The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Sunday, March 16, 2003  

Family Photos

I'll bet a lot of the Skinny Daily Post circle are very good photographers, excellent videographers, well equipped with recording technologies for family events, reunions, vacations.

Am I right?

Why would I mention it? Because he or she with camera in hand is rarely recorded on film.

It's a clever tactic, and common among obese people. We're a bit like vampires, avoiding mirrors and never allowing ourselves to be recorded on film. We are also famous for ripping up photos, burning negatives, erasing tapes. Can't find the family Christmas pics? Really? Hmm.

I've been guilty of this behavior all my life, which is difficult in a family full of photography freaks. But I was successful enough at avoiding film that I had a hard time finding a "before" pic when it was time to post one on this site. I'm still looking for some picture that records me at my heaviest weight where I'm not hiding behind a counter, posing carefully behind a niece or nephew, sitting with dogs covering my lap, or in some way camouflaging my heft.

In fact, if you became my biographer (now there's a fantasy without a future), you'd develop an odd sense that I skipped my 30s altogether, running straight from my early 20s, when you'd find my wedding photos, to pictures of me at my daughter's wedding some 20 years later. There are very few photos in between. A floating head in a group family shot here and there.

Why? Because I developed an extrasensory ability to read when an uncapped lens is pointed in my direction. I turn on a dime, find the contraption, and offer to take the shot so that it includes the camera owner, or grab the nearest beach towel, or get a strangle-hold on the dog. You'd think I worked as a triple agent, I'm so oily about it.

Of course, now I'm sorry. I would like to have pictures of myself every 10 lbs or so as evidence of the work I did to lose the weight, and as a reminder to stick to my new way of eating and exercise habit. But it takes work to keep from flinching when the cameras come out. I still duck. I still feel an awful sense of exposure. I posed for my "after" shot for an old friend and professional photographer. He did a great job, but the expression on my face tells all, I don't like having my picture taken.

I try to remember my grandmother, who never met a camera she didn't like. She knew how to make love to the camera and the lens (even before Austin Powers cajoled is models to do so, baby), and every shot of her is fantastic as a result, regardless of her weight, which fluctuated quite a bit over her lifetime. She also had that extra sense of an available lens, but reacted by posing, moving quickly into a ¾-view pose, one leg out, forward toe pointed to profile the foot, chin up, face toward the nearest light source, eyebrows raised, chest out. She was really something. She worked the room at family gatherings, making sure that everyone with a camera had the opportunity to take a photograph of her. And they were usually not disappointed, because she dazzled on film. I'd like to believe I had an ounce of that.

I'll work on it. I hope, whatever size you are, you will too. Cameras are there to record your life, your membership in a clan of people who love you. You should be present in the family record, regardless of your size. You do yourself and your friends and loved ones a disservice, and rob them of memories when you duck, or burn negatives, or rip up prints. Try not to. Try to have fun in front of the camera,



Kodak on Photographing People
Love the Camera, Baby
The Biggest Family Album in Australia

posted by Julie |
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