Thursday, October 16, 2008

Family Portraits

Since the election is - thankfully - almost over, I figure I'd better find some other things to write about. Oh, I know, somebody, sometime soon, is going to make an allegedly stupid comment and force me to respond on this blog. The holiday season is coming up. What was it last year? Oh, that's right, no Christmas trees because they might offend somebody. Scroll through the archives of this blog and you'll find an entry or two about that bit of stupidity from human society!

Today, I'm going to write about family portraits. Why? Well, because a friend of mine just had one done. He was all dressed up in a fancy suit, the wife in her pretty dress, and the two kids in equally pretty dresses (oh, the kids were both girls, just in case you were wondering). My question: why in the heck do we dress to the nines for family portraits? What's wrong with dressing casually, in everyday wear? Why does society insist that family portraits must look stuffy and uncomfortable? Trust me, I have a black and white family photo (this was before digital cameras and, I guess, before color film - I'll have to research that one a little more, I'm not that old) of my brother, sisters, and I taken when I was about two. I was a cute little devil. Not much has changed in the intervening years. My sisters have on their matching dresses and my brother and I are in our little suits with bow ties (yes, another ancient custom that is - thankfully - no longer in practice). I did look pretty sharp (and cute) with my bow tie. The thing is, I was also probably as uncomfortable as hell. Perhaps that's where my dislike for suits and ties originated. I'll have to ask a therapist about that.

What I'm really trying to say is, why do we take pictures of ourselves, that don't actually represent ourselves? Is that the real me (cute as can be) in the suit with the bow tie looking absolutely adorable? Of course not! I was two years old. I was probably more comfortable running around in a diaper . . . or naked, for that matter. I was two after all. Clothes aren't really that important to a two year old. I'm just saying . . .

So, at what point in our lives, do we decide that we need to dress all nice for a family portrait, if that dressing nice is not actually representative of the person having their portrait taken? I do not have an answer to that question. I guess it's just another one of those mysterious things that happen, kind of like the sock going missing in the dryer, or once a person reaches age 50, how gravity tends to affect certain parts of the human body.