taking pictures of everything

Last week Grace and I were sitting in the car with her friend who we had driven home from camp. We were waiting to drop her off and of course I was early so we had a few minutes to kill. Grace wanted to show Jessie a particular picture (I can’t remember which one) so I handed them my iphone. They scrolled through all the pictures I have on it (which isn’t actually that many, I seem to be the only person I know who deletes photographs after uploading them!).

Grace and her friend starting giggling and I turned around to look at them.

“What?” I asked. They looked at the screen, not at me (preview of things to come, surely). “Seriously, what?”

“Nothing, Mum,” Grace said with a newly dismissive tone that has crept into her voice lately.

“Grace, your mum takes pictures of everything!” Grace’s friend said, not unkindly, more in surprise.

“She does. This isn’t even the half of it. She takes pictures of the sky a lot, and Legos Whit builds, and my art, and shoes, and our backs, and shadows, and glasses on the table and … wow, yes, she does!” Grace trailed off.

Yes, I do. I take tons of pictures of little random moments in our lives that I don’t want to forget. These images can hold as much potent memory as the more traditional ones that I often show here, of Grace and Whit, smiling at the camera, together or apart. These seemingly random glimpses of inanimate things can reawaken for me all of the emphermal details of the experience, of who precisely I was at that specific moment. So yes, I do take pictures of “everything,” and wow, oh wow, am I grateful for that.

Hadley’s beautiful faded pink-gray hydrangeas.

Favors for Whit’s 3rd birthday party (personalized plates with each child’s name and a drawing of a clown) all wrapped up the night before.

Sparkling rose, Diet Coke, and water, all lined up, at a celebratory lunch with Bouff.

Spring peonies on my kitchen island.

A breathtaking late summer sunset.

My feet standing in the lapping waves at the shore of the Marion beach.

My shadow, with Grace and Whit on either side of me, cast against the concrete path behind my in-laws’ house in Florida.

A dandelion, just proffered with enthusiastic affection by Whit.

Grace’s overnight bag, packed for a sleepover, half of which is taken up by her two well-worn, deeply-loved bears (creatively named Brown Bear and Yellow Bear).

Two bright buckets.

An ornament that I had made for the Christmas that Grace was just one, that she had just hung on the 2009 Christmas tree.

The scatter of yellow leaves on a wet autumn pavement.

Must Stop Myself. I could bore you with hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs like these.

In truth, the random photographs like these are often just as evocative (and sometimes more so) than the more traditional family and friend photographs.

16 thoughts on “taking pictures of everything”

  1. I’m with you. The snapshots of peaceful moments in time prolong the memories for me. My brain doesn’t fully capture and store all these details, but I am reminded of those sweet moments with a photo or two. I totally get where you are coming from. Love the buckets on the shore and the sweet plush bears.

  2. This might be one of my favorite posts you have ever written. Of course I’ve noticed that do take pictures of everything, but seeing their collective effect is quite powerful. Strangely, this montage sums up so much about which you write. You are a photgrapher, too — who knew?!
    Hope you made it home safe and sound last night. Xo

  3. My favorite is the bag with Brown Bear and Yellow Bear–don’t you wish we adults could have loveys that we could bring to unfamiliar places, to soothe our nerves? I’d be wandering around BlogHer with a blankie!

  4. I do the same thing and I’m so grateful then I look back on those images. At the time, my family/friends/random strangers glance at me with the look of “what on earth is she doing?”, but it’s always worth it. Shoot away, Momma!

  5. This brought the tears 🙂
    Such beautiful little snippets. The things that we fear will get lost in memory, but with pictures we savor.
    (I also delete after uploading…)

  6. I love, love, love this! I do the same thing and can tell you that Grace will be happy later, when she looks back at all of the moments of her days and years….

    I really need to delete more often!

  7. The deleting after uploading… for some of us it’s because of habits formed in the time before cameras stored photographs. I’m still feeling a little vertiginous from the rapidity with which memory prices have plummeted. I bought a 512-MB card long ago, for a price that would probably, cover 32 or 64 GB today, and have never felt a need to carry around more.

    Beautiful, evocative photos, it may go without saying.

  8. Yes, I love taking photos of everything. Lots of kids and just random things around the house. many lego things and flowers, lots of flowers.

  9. beautiful. how funny…i have started doing this too–first with my iphone, now with my new camera and its become a kind of gratefulness practice for me–a learning to see the beauty and all that I love in the ordinary that surrounds me. Thank you for sharing your perspective!

  10. I feel like I know almost exactly what you are saying and seeing here… and yet I marvel at how each of us have such specificity of experience and at the same time a unity between us.

    Sometimes I marvel at just how much may be beyond the frame—of our pictures, but also of our awareness.

  11. oh yes, the Lego pictures! I should have included one – that is definitely a big category for me too.

  12. This is when I lament my broken camera and lack of an adequate mini-camera. But, I think my images are stored somewhere in my heart and hopefully I can bring them up later on in life.

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