Rumination on Photography and Permanence

No one really looks as good or as bad as any given picture.

I like photography because it freezes a moment. A photograph can capture someone looking like the incredible glowing star they had the potential to be, even if they never achieve that potential. For that one frame, it is real.

I like pictures. They crystalize the moment.

I moved a lot as a kid. When I got to college, it was my 12th school in twelve years. There are friends I want to remember the faces of more clearly. There are people I loved where I have no visual to remember them by. There are people I loved where I have only photos where they looked bad or only photos where they looked great. But no one really looks as good or as bad as any given picture.

I want to know what happened to my friend Elisabeth Bj-Pederson from high school, but no amount of googling has ever located her. I wish I had something besides a wallet sized class photo of her which captured none of her personality, her warmth, her loyalty, her zest for adventure, her ability to get to the heart of a matter, her beauty.

I want to know what happened to the first person who ever put a finger in my cunt. I want more than half an aged polaroid to remember who they were. Were they as sexy and fine as I remember? More so? At the time, I felt lucky that someone so hot would want me at all, but I didn’t believe the declarations of love at the time. I wish I had more pictures of that time. The ones I have, I look cuter than I remember, but they don’t seem like enough of a sampling.

Someone who was my friend in real life long before there was an Lj just posted that he had just looked at pictures of himself from a long time ago and realized that he looked attractive then. He was a heartbreaker. Charming, witty, stylin’, and definitely cute. I have vivid movies in my head of parties at his mom’s house. I would always sit on his lap when I came through town, no matter who he was theoretically dating at the time, whether or not she was in the room. We never fucked. Now we never will. But I wish I could look at the pictures in my head where they are blurry or possibly misremembered.

In fact, I think that the only two people on my friends list who are people I made out with in the past BOTH posted fuck-I’m-getting-old/fat/not as rich as I expected type posts tonight. WTF?

I love having a digital snapshot camera with a good autofocus. I am getting older and wiser and apparently wisdom is painful. But having a good camera like this allows me to preserve the happy moments. The fun, the pleasure, the warmth, the good times, the memories that feel good.

Of course, because I do pro photography, most people with cameras are tense about taking my picture.

And the two most important people in my life now both dislike having their picture taken. Even when they submit, the pictures don’t feel to me like they capture much of who they are. So I just look from all angles and try to commit it all to memory and remind myself that no one really looks as good or as bad as any given picture.