I never liked taking pictures of myself. It stems from a self awareness of my appearance and my differences within my community. I also never liked posing for the camera, but if I did you bet that it would be a killer selfie. I grew up with the camera being an essential part of my family structure, along side food, TV and good spirits. Besides my mom wanting to take a lot of photos especially with us in it everywhere we went to and taking in what the United States had to offer, I also loved to take pictures. I would place myself behind the view finder and compose the subjects trying to take in the most of everything in the image and hit that satisfying shutter sound. I grew to love it easily. Now more than ever evidenced in my recent activities and past blog posts.
The thing I noticed most about loving photography was the retrieval of certain memories from the photos themselves. My mom would take the roll of film, go to the 1 hour development darkroom places and get the photos printed and bring back the negatives. I liked having the negatives because it was like watching a movie as I scrolled my eyes across them. The thing I loved about looking back at old photos is remember the day, especially if it was a special time or place like at the south street seaport. It wasn't a magical place, or any extraordinary place, it was just one of those perfect days where the cold september wind was blowing across my face as we walked around the pier just exploring the city. We found a spot where we could sit for a few minutes and I wanted to take the camera to take photos, so my mom readied me up and let me shoot away.
The older I got, the more I loved Photography, but had no formal training or any proper way of getting the information I needed or had the infrastruature to learn the process on my own, But I loved to shoot, so I shot. It wasn't a big part of my life, but it was definitely a part of my life through my teenage years, no professional grade cameras but ones that were easily accessible and portable that my family took everywhere. The older photos that you're seeing, are the photos that I've wanted to scan for a while now. I was recently given albums of photos from my mother to have for myself, but to also scan them all for the record. Many of these photos makes me feel nostalgic, and almost longing to return just to watch over the day again, to be reminded and reflect what it was like. I guess this is why many Youtubbers vlog, so they can document their day-to-day but also to show the world their day-to-day. Every piece of media has their purpose, to either the maker or the receiver.
I've flipped through the photos and many of them tell me a story about the photo, especially for those ones that I have no recollection or had no capacity to even remember. The photo of my grandfather holding me tells me that he didn't handle children very often, which was culturally true, but also with how rough my mother grew up, it was apparently that there was a lack of physical sensitivity. However, his face shows pure amazement, it must've been how heavy I was that surprised him. The expression on his face tells me that he can't believe he's there in that moment right then and there, holding me in his hands, another miracle of life that would extend his family line.
Then there's the photo of my parents, my mom laughing at how silly I'm being with my first exposure to snow and highly enjoying myself, and my dad looking lovingly at my mother as he pushes the cart that he so willingly wants to push his second son in. I've never liked poses, but we often do it to bring out the best angle of our vanity. I like laughs because it lightens the atmosphere. my mother sharing her scarf with one of her best friends, and my brother celebrating some sort of victory in the playground.
So now I have the photos, looking back at the times that used to be and thinking "I remember when..." and "Wow I haven't seen ... in a while!" or "They're getting so old..." Each photo is piece of my timeline, etched into my life's documentary but disorganized and sporadic. These views into points of my timeline are friends that I haven't seen in a while, places I haven't visited due to inconvenience, loving pets that are past their golden age, or members that are of no more in this world. Memories are often on their own, especially for those that have past away. One photo, even if unrelated, can provoke a memory of someone who hasn't been in this world for a while, but the things you remember about them was how funny they were or how they always had that type of infectious laugh that you couldn't help but laugh along.
Lifestyle Photography isn't just a way for me to creatively capture moments, of my own or of other people, its a love for the human condition and everything that influences it. Its about trying to capture the essence of the day to day, the things that are true within those times. Dirty diapers and uncontrollable giggling, scrapped knees and training wheels, Heart breaks and camaraderie, failures and successes. Some of these snapshots can't always be captured by a third party, but the moments where its just me and my brother playing video games and celebrating our first team win over the big boss. Or moments when we would eat dinner and it was my favorite dish, roast pig! I wouldn't have wanted a picture of myself sleeping, but my mom loved taking pictures of me sleeping, and I understood why, its a moment of calm and reflection on realizing man, I can't believe he's here, and hes getting so big, and soon he'll be off into the world on his own. Although I don't have children of my own, and I'm the youngest child in my family, I understand that certain moments are fleeting and don't last long, even the ones we are used to from our old day to day that still haven't returned to us. Someday, I'll probably miss more than just the activities and traditions, so I'm trying to take note of the regular for as long as I can. Someday, a picture will be the last thing left to remind me of a time long ago.
So although I hate pictures of myself, because I think I could always look better, I learn to embrace the camera. When that camera clicks on me, I think to myself: "Someone will remember this moment, or look back at this moment, and I know its someone I care about, that is going to miss me later, and I want to leave them with something to remember me. I'm doing this for them, because they aren't going to see that huge zit on my nose or my forehead. They are going to see me laughing my crazy laugh wished they were apart of it, and wish to see me again. I'm leaving behind my legacy, and this is how I'm leaving it behind for the future to pick up and keep."