So this is it. Fall. (It’s here, yay!) I love fall, but I have been feeling very rebellious lately, and it’s not from the weather. Guess I’m trying to find balance. (that’s a popular thing to say and it puts my teeth on edge just to write it). I started realizing how rebellious I felt when we went on an impromptu picnic on Sunday afternoon. We went to one of our favorite parks with buns and cream cheese and oranges and pepsi. It is a very popular spot for wedding photography sessions. On this beautifully hot day, there were no weddings around, but you couldn’t take 10 steps without stumbling upon little photography shoots. Shoot. They were swarming all over the place! The photographers with their big shiny cameras and huge lenses, crouched down cajoling little children to look here and there, placing stuffies and piles of leaves around their subjects. The photographers were calm and smiling, constantly talking; the add-on people (usually moms) weren’t quite as calm, saying ‘do this and do that’! The subjects were dressed up, some very dressed up in Sunday best and high heels. Posing here by the bridge, now down by that bush, now laying in the fallen leaves and gazing up at the photographer, now down by the river, now gazing into each other’s eyes.
And I sat there in my picnic chair, the sun beating down on my back, and sulked. As I watched all the activity, I despaired at the fakeness of it all. Part of me was just soaking in the beautiful day and the leaves, but sadly, the other part of me was disgusted. The posing, the cajoling….and the thing that bugged me the most was that everybody’s doing it. As I have done so many times, in so many photoshoots.
We sat at the picnic table, with our humble picnic (first taste of chicken bologna for some) and watched as a group came right up beside us to bask in the leaves while the photographer snapped away. They said that it would be quick, and that was fine. It gave us something to watch while we ate. It was fine, and surreal at the same time.
I had my camera along, of course, but didn’t even feel like pulling it out of the bag. Resisting “camera envy” was taking some little effort on my part. I thought maybe my daughter would like to take some photos, after all, what a gorgeous day. But the kids were busy playing with Henry. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I dozed off in a daze of autumn and cameras.
Giving myself a shake, I got up and grabbed my not-so-very-shiny not-so-big camera and halfheartedly started snapping some photos of the kids, the leaves. Almost forcing myself. I started feeling a bit better when I lined up the oranges on the picnic bench: when in doubt, snap away at still life, that’s my motto.
There was no energy in me to set up a “family photo” to freeze this picinic day in time, propping up the camera and posing myself with everyone…..but old habits die hard, so they say. “Everyone come over here and sit by this tree”. Snap snap. “Lean back and get your face out of the sun”. But this time I didn’t bother to get worked up over it or even to command everyone to smile. I just snapped away, knowing that the photos of Henry with his kids in the fall by the “Children’s Bridge” would be worth the effort….someday it would.This looks real enough.This is posed:Deep down inside, I know that if the camera doesn’t come out, I will regret having missed the priceless moments, and that’s why I need to make the effort. To not miss those priceless photos:
When I was at home that night, editing the photos (yes, they are all edited. Everything you see online, anywhere really, has been edited -and touched up-FYI)
I started to feel better: about my skills, my camera, about the reasons for taking photos at all. Even about the posing and stuff. Kinda.
Funny thing was, right then my friend messaged me to ask if I could take their family photo the next day. I said yes without hesitation. We met at a beautiful park, along with scads of other “family photo sessions”, I tried to ignore the fancy cameras and equipment around me. I was just going to do what I could and not stress (about camera envy, the fading light, my lack of experience, or anything else). My friends kinda posed themselves, recreating poses that they had done in their wedding photos 10 years ago! :) I tried not to be bossy, and let Henry try and get the kids’ attention. I just snapped away. And later edited. And when I saw the photo of Michelle and Will, I knew it was all worth it. When I saw on my computer screen the kids making funny faces, surrounded by their parents’ love and desperation, I knew that it was worth it, and that’s why I’ll keep trying….trying to not give in and give up. (worth the posing, the dressing up, the fuss, the running around, the fake smiles, the “cheeses” and funny faces…!)