Thursday, November 02, 2023

Story depiction

All photos tell stories, one way or another. Sometimes we may try to make photos tell a specific story, or part of one, and that may or may not work. Or maybe both? As I recently discovered.

I took the photo above Tuesday afternoon because I had an idea for photo to go with my post on the tenth anniversary of when Nigel and I were married . I decided against using it, however, and instead used the same photo I have in previous years, partly in order to keep consistency with my earlier posts, and also because I felt the older photo better depicted what the anniversary was about.

My idea for the new photo was that it depict a contemplative me, because contemplative and reflective are two of the best words to describe my mood and thinking over the past week or so, and that reality was at the core of Tuesday’s post. I also wanted to appear more or less casual, and I wanted my marriage and civil union rings to be visible, too, mainly because they directly related to the post. I was seated in my chair and looking out the front window at the only tree on the street I can easily see from my house (I included a photo with that tree and a rainbow in a blog post back in September).

I’m the first to admit that what I intend for my photos doesn’t always work, but I think this one is pretty close to what I wanted. However, I realised that it wasn’t going to work because it was about me, and I staged it to make it related to the post.

I finished the first draft of my post and went to have some dinner. As I watched the evening news, I began to think again about using a photo of me, and the result was the photo at the bottom of this post. I took a framed set of three photos from our marriage, ten years earlier to the day, and held the frame to avoid the photo of the family at the bottom of the frame showing (because I don’t normally share photos of them). I got the idea for it from a post I did in 2021 for Nigel’s 57th birthday, and I thought the framed photos from our marriage day might work. For the record, the top photo was right after the Registrar declared us married, and the middle one was as we were signing the official paperwork.

By the time I took that, the daylight was fading, which is why I have a slightly grumpy look on face, though I was actually intently staring at the screen: With the light fading, I had to hold my phone still while its electronic brain took a longer exposure to process and brighten. I then took a bunch more, including some where my rings were visible, however, some were slightly out of focus (I’d moved too much), or else my expression made me look positively pissed-off. This was the point I gave up the idea and went and finished the post using the same photo as I have in the past. I realised this was for the best. After all, it’s not the sort of anniversary I’d normally take a selfie on, anyway.

Nearly all of my photos, especially the ones I share here, have some sort of story, like why I took it, how I took it, what I was trying to depict, etc. These two photos are the same, however, there’s an unusual added story to them in that I had an idea and tried to make it work, only to finally accept it wouldn’t because the photos wouldn’t fit perfectly with the post—they’d have partly worked, sure, but not perfectly. Had it been any sort of ordinary post, it probably wouldn’t have mattered‚ and I may have used one. But while anniversary posts like Tuesday’s may be common because they’re annual, for me they’re very different, and I alter my story-telling rules and expectations accordingly.

Sometimes I try to make photos tell a specific story, or part of one, and that may or may not work. This experience reminded me that both can be true of the same photo. It’s not the first time, and certainly won’t be the last, that I abandoned ideas for a photo for a blog post, but I think it probably took me quite a bit longer this time to reach that decision. This makes perfect sense: It’s an indication of how much the anniversary itself means to me.

Still, it wasn't for nothing. I decided to use that photo up top as my new Facebook Profile photo. For now.

No comments: