For homework in my Visual Storytelling class this weekend, I had to shoot and edit a 30-second video sequence. Took me, oh, about 15 hours.

I know my husband Rick is reading this right now and going, “Uh, excuse me, it took you 15 hours?”

OK, so he helped. But I should point out that it still took 15 hours.

It is my belief that every family has at least one person (him) who knows how to handle all the photo- and video-taking duties (but is frankly a little overconfident). And there is one person (me) who is not allowed to go near the camera or video recorder.

As a result, whenever I am occasionally forced to photograph anything – still or otherwise – a Dramamine is required before viewing. I must admit I even make myself sick with the blurring and jiggling and then, as an added bonus, the video will apparently be over and viewers will be treated to a shot of my shoes as I walk around, talk to people, and maybe put the camera down someplace where the battery can die a peaceful death only to be discovered 15 minutes before some child’s graduation is scheduled to begin.
It’s not that I can’t appreciate the many benefits of having quality photos and videos in my life. We just don’t happen to have any.

I am always a little in awe of those people whose houses you walk into and are treated to 25-by-30-feet black and white stills of their children walking barefoot on the beach. I wish I had one of those houses and yes, I realize those photos are professionally taken, but those are also the people with a full library of their children walking barefoot on the beach that they shot themselves.

Rick and I typically accuse each other of purposely forgetting the camera at important events because neither one of us have the patience to take pictures or video.

Oh sure, when the kids were babies, we took the requisite 50 photos of them spitting out their first solid food. But soon, their birthday parties were captured with maybe 10 pictures (of other kids, not ours) and there was no video (because the battery was dead).

My sister-in-law Jodi is one of those people who videotapes an hour and a half straight of her daughter’s violin recital and takes 20 pictures of the food on the Thanksgiving table.  Holidays and vacations ceased being holidays and vacations with Jodi and instead became “the week I spent taking pictures in Florida.”

Somewhere between this and us is normal, I am sure.

Part of the reason I am not motivated to be a good photographer, I think, is because I am a terrible subject. I’m the one who makes everyone around me miserable trying to keep me out of pictures because I have bad hair or am sunburned.

One day, my great grandchildren are going to think their great grandmother, who was born in 1961, came from the old country because there will be no photographic evidence that I exist.

One year, Rick decided to make a project out of putting photos in albums (for those of you under the age of 35, these are books with sticky pages covered with clear plastic sheets that cover photographs).  He actually did a good job (though he probably could have tossed the doubles of blurry pictures of kids with food on their faces) and we congratulated ourselves on our nice little photo library.

But then Amanda entered school and each year had to dig up old family pictures for one project or another, and so much for our nice photo library.

Now we are a modern family with all of our photos taken digitally and stored in our computer.
You can come over and see all 12 of them any time.

3 Responses to “Photographically-challenged”

  1. Mike


    I am so with you on this. My wife could be a professional photographer if she wanted to. She loves pictures and we have boxes and boxes of them to prove it. I’ve always said I have a face made for radio and try to avoid pictures whenever necessary.

    The rub: Many times, my wife wants photos of the kids doing something at school when I am home during the day and she is working. Talk about pressure. I think I could hire the best photojournalist either of us know and they still wouldn’t be right. She has the touch, I have the torch. I had her tell me one was pretty good a couple weeks back and I about fell over.

    So I can feel you photo pain.

  2. Don

    Very funny. My older brother persists in taking pictures when we aren’t looking, and we have just started to put food in our mouths. That is the definition of gross.

  3. Barry

    You’re killing me. Now wonder why I like you so much, you are just like my wife. I’ve seen hours of video of the grass at our kids soccer games, movies of her shoes at a dance recital. Plus she avoids being in pics like the plague!


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