The Progression of the Picture

(sigh) I’m not a model.  I know this; I’ve come to accept this.  When I was in college, I took a photography class.   Or at least, I started the class.  I had to drop out because, as I found out on day 2, photography is an expensive habit.  But the one thing I remember during my week of class is this:  a photographer doesn’t take pictures, a photographer makes pictures.  Okay, so can I blame all the photographers that have ever aimed a camera in my direction for me not having one good picture of myself?   Didn’t think so.

Graduation from high school is an exciting time.  It’s the time when adulthood is within reach.  The hope of the future is just around the corner.  And when all dreams are about to come true.  Blah, blah, blah.  This rite of passage is usually marked with a photo.  Not just a regular school photo, though.  One with a special backdrop and different poses which boldly declares, “I am now an adult.”

For whatever reason, and I really can’t remember it now, my graduation photo did not say that.  Instead, it whimpered, “I don’t think I’m ready.” First, I don’t want any of my photos, though each may be a candidate, to end up on  It’s okay for me to laugh at other people’s photos, I just don’t want the mass public laughing at mine.

Me-a as a Chia

My older sister, MZ, helped me pick out my outfit.  I never liked the sweater she chose but she insisted I needed something “dressy.”  She graduated five years earlier than me so how could I argue with such experience?  Notice my hair.  This is what I refer to as my “Chia Pet” stage.  That was the most hair I’ve ever had in my life.  I’d wash my hair in the morning and it would still be damp after school. I woke up at night with severe headaches whenever I’d try to do anything with it.  My first semester in college I chopped it all off and haven’t gone back.

My biggest disappointment with this picture is the backdrop.  I was looking forward to having a special background.  When my brother got his graduation picture done, he got to stand in front of a fake library with lots of books.  I wanted a fake library – or even a fake bookshelf.  I would have settled for a fishbowl on a fake shelf.  The fanciest background for my photo shoot was a bunch of lights.  Oooh.  Special.  I never liked my graduation photos.

Goofy Me

The next opportunity I had for a professional photo session is when I left on my mission.  I’m a little, shall we say, fiscally retentive, so to save money I went to somebody with a basement studio.  She operated her business part-time in her home.  In an effort to ensure better photos than my graduation pictures, I took a couple of changes of clothes.   My poses were a little more varied than just sitting on a stool and I had fun.  Until a week later when I went to pick up the final product.  My smile faded as I looked at the proofs.  ‘Do I really look that goofy?’ I asked.

MZ looked at the pictures and answered, “They look fine.”  That answered my question and was a rude awakening.  She was supposed to answer, “Why yes, they do look odd.  You’re not that goofy looking.” That’s when I decided I’d prefer to be behind the camera.

My mom was a proud momma.  She had her picture wall filled with photos of her children and grandchildren.  Since my mission photo was the last professional picture of me, it hung on her wall.  But that was okay.  After all, my wedding picture would replace it.  Except, there would be no wedding photo for me.   “Goofy” hung on the wall for 13 long years.

A few years ago, I did an in memoriam video for a mom of three.   She lost her fight to cancer and was only a couple of years older than me.   Her occupation was a photographer.  She was so busy taking pictures she didn’t have very many good photos of herself.  That was a wakeup call to me.  I decided in my future video of my life, I’d like at least one good photo of me.

Christmas elves, also known as my mom and NJ, heard my wish and I received a gift certificate for glamour shots that year.  In July, I went to Salt Lake with three changes of clothes.  I arrived at the studio and the photographer/beautician did my hair and makeup for me.  Which I appreciated because those are the two things I have a hard time figuring out.

Hanging on the family wall probably until I die

The photographer and I made small talk.  She asked if I was getting married.  Nope.  She asked if I was going to use the photos to post on dating sites.   I just smiled.  Since I was 35 years old I didn’t want to mention my two main reasons.  One, to replace goofy on my mom’s wall and two, I wanted a good picture of myself for when I die and need a funeral video.  Eventually.  Someday.  Other than that, I didn’t plan on letting anyone else see the pictures because I felt a little silly.  So, in keeping with that, I’m sharing some of the photos on my blog.

This will be the photo I use for my blurb in my book. Now I just have to write a book.

The day was fun and I liked playing model.   And yes, a decent picture of me is finally hanging on the wall.


2 thoughts on “The Progression of the Picture

  1. We had one – and only one – good picture of my mom when she died. I’ve always wondered what we would have done if I hadn’t taken it and given it to her for a Mother’s Day gift a few years before. It’s one of the reasons I take pictures of myself and put them on my blog, so there will be at least one acceptable choice available should it be needed.

  2. Pictures do become treasures very quickly. My favorites are the candids (of other people – I’ll stick with the glamour shots for me though).

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