Saturday, December 19, 2009

Anatomy of a Family Christmas Card Photo

It looks like the picture melted on the right side.........

Where's Jeff?

Power to the argyle people!


Again, Jeff with the leaning......

Love this one but it's a little dark.......

Wow. Aren't we just the happy, argyle-wearing family, jumping for joy?

We look like a Gap ad..........


Can you see how excited Jeff is? And how irritated Hayley is?

Harrison, testing out the tripod positioning, and Shade, being good for once!
Taking a family Christmas card photo is pure torture. First of all, with a family of six, there is always at least one person totally unwilling to go along with it. Or at least go along with it in MY time frame. Usually it goes like this: I find a small window of opportunity for all of us to be together in the house at the same time, everyone is dressed (no one has their wet hair up in a towel) and we have a small amount of unscheduled time. (Note: this happens exactly ONCE each season, and actually requires creative planning on my part). I say "we're taking the Christmas card photo in five minutes" which in turn causes all teenage girls to fly into a panic, lamenting their hair, makeup, big toe, whatever. Five minutes turns into thirty, during which time I have done five thousand other projects related to spreading Christmas cheer and set up the tripod. Finally gathering everyone into the too-small living room, we then begin the game called "I know!" As in "I know, let's all sit like this!" or "I know! Let's all stand in a line!" or "I know! Let's all jump up at the same time!" I try to oblige the various ideas flying at me, while lining up the family the way I want them. We take a series of photos, most of which have at least one person with their eyes closed, leaning in an awkward fashion, or looking perfectly fine but upon reviewing the tiny digital screen, screaming "I LOOK HORRIBLE!" I am often threatened with bodily harm if I dare to put the "reject" photos on the internet (as you can see, I'm shaking in my boots). In the end, although I ask for their opinions, my preference RULES and I have the final say on the photo. This year, the entire process took less than twenty minutes but only because I was trying to oblige my husband who was suffering from the flu and had to be dragged out of bed and stuffed into an argyle t-shirt for the shoot. In past years, though, I have been known to spend hours and rolls of film (yes, pre-digital -gasp!) getting just the right shot, only to be mildly disappointed in the final result. What am I trying to achieve anyway? Perfect little cherubs with smiling angel faces. Kids that look clean, pressed, obedient and charming. A photo that screams "LOOK HOW AWESOME MY LIFE IS!" But who am I kidding? Christmas card photos are often the worst, most cheesy photos we ever take (save for school picture day photos which win the crown for being the worst of all). And yet, every year, I put my family through this torture. Only I'm not disappointed in the results anymore. In fact, I like a little imperfection in the photo. It's real and unstaged and natural. It's bizarre and cheesy and corny. It's smiling faces with an undertow of annoyance. It's us! Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Sydney said...

This was so fun! I can't wait to show this to Stu and say, "See? THEY do it, so jump on three, ready?..." Hehe. Love it. And thank you for sharing it! :)