Category Archives: Behind the Photo

Behind the Photo: Salute

My mom recently sorted out all the remnants of the days when you had to print the whole role of film to get the one picture worth keeping. Over the years the best photos were picked over for frames, albums, and other display pieces.

These are the left-overs. But not the throw-away left overs. The ones that tell the story of the real family behind the Christmas card photos.

My mom insists the following pictures are of me waving. She says that she somehow captured my distinctive wave at the same moment three times in a little over a year. Please note that I am using this “wave” at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and some museum with dinosaurs. Pretty choice optics for a 3-4 year old.

My mom was giving me the benefit of the doubt, but the evidence points in a different direction. I’m trying to brand a salute for when I take over the world. Pretty sure of it.

Maybe I’ll try to bring it back. Please greet me with this hand gesture from now on.

Here I am taking my oath of office:

wave-1

And laughing maniacally as I plow over my opponents in a novelty mining cart:

wave-2

And acculturate my first subjects. A dinosaur and Annika.

wave-3

 

 

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Behind the Photo: Chicken Pox

My mom recently sorted out all the remnants of the days when you had to print the whole role of film to get the one picture worth keeping. Over the years the best photos were picked over for frames, albums, and other display pieces.

These are the left-overs. But not the throw-away left overs. The ones that tell the story of the real family behind the Christmas card photos.

I grew up with nine cousins, and when I say “grew up with” I mean we grew up like siblings. Eight of us were in high school at the same time, meaning that eight of us were under five-years-old at the same time. We all lived in the same city, and we did everything together.

So it made sense that in 1986 when Dusty got a bugle for Christmas and later came down with the chicken pox, our parents got together and literally had us pass the bugle around to ensure that we all got the disease at the ideal age.

I don’t know how I really felt about the chicken pox, but judging by this photo I was pretty satisfied.

chicken-pox

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Behind the Photo: Cheerleader

My mom recently sorted out all the remnants of the days when you had to print the whole role of film to get the one picture worth keeping. Over the years the best photos were picked over for frames, albums, and other display pieces.

These are the left-overs. But not the throw-away left overs. The ones that tell the story of the real family behind the Christmas card photos.

Ask any sports photographer and they will tell you: people make horrendous faces when they are physically exerting themselves.

Nonetheless, when I made the varsity cheerleading squad at the end of my freshmen year of high school, I immediately began to picture myself looking like this:

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-10-03-01-pm

However, a cheerleading uniform does not a Gabrielle Union make. In cheerleading, the head bobbling and flirty uniforms belie the level of difficulty. You are doing things that are far more demanding than a layup, a pass, or running in a circle…and yet you have to do the whole thing with your hair in place and a big ol’ goofy grin (or a fierce, open-mouth, club face).

Or you are me, and your face tells the world exactly how hard you are working.

The moment I found out I had made the squad is captured on film, and it gives an accurate forecast of things to come:

cheer-tryouts

This showed up some time later. I have thrown it away at least three times:

cheer-skirt

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Behind the Photo: Snow

My mom recently sorted out all the remnants of the days when you had to print the whole role of film to get the one picture worth keeping. Over the years the best photos were picked over for frames, albums, and other display pieces.

These are the left-overs. But not the throw-away left overs. The ones that tell the story of the real family behind the Christmas card photos.

The first time I saw snow was in 1986 in San Antonio. It lightly dusted the front lawn and was gone by noon.

The first time I saw SNOW! was in 1990 in Steamboat Springs, CO.

We had driven through the night to get to our friends’ ski lodge. I went to sleep in the desert, and woke up to mounds of fluffy, puffy, soft angel snow all around.

When we stopped at a gas station where substantial snow drifts were mere feet from the car, my mom let me get out to see. Envisioning a cloud like experience of tossing marshmallow flavored snow all around me – no doubt inspired by cartoons, which do not have feelings- I threw myself face first into a snow drift. Like a cartoon.

I was wearing a sweatsuit and Keds.

This would be my first major reckoning of fantasy and reality.

It. stung. so. bad.

In this picture I am pausing my massive fit long enough to smile for the photo.

snow

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Behind the Photo: Pajama Pants

My mom recently sorted out all the remnants of the days when you had to print the whole role of film to get the one picture worth keeping. Over the years the best photos were picked over for frames, albums, and other display pieces.

These are the left-overs. But not the throw-away left overs. The ones that tell the story of the real family behind the Christmas card photos.

This photo is from the summer after my freshmen year in college. My family took a road trip across the West Texas desert. Like most of our road trips, preparation was minimal and packing space was at a premium. My mom’s rule whether on vacation or moving into an RV for nine months: you get one bag.

It being the dead of summer in the West Texas desert, I did not pack jeans. Why would I? Besides, I had gained 10 pounds and none of my jeans were comfortable for sitting in the car for long stretches.

I was freshly home from college, and probably being an ass. So I don’t blame my family for limiting interaction with me to just essential information exchanges. Apparently “We’re going horseback riding” was one of the conversations that didn’t make the cut.

When we showed up for a horseback ride through the hills of Terlingua, the wrangler took one look at my 3″ inseam and just shook his head. The rest of my family, who all somehow knew to pack jeans that they would wear exactly once on the trip, stared at me with that “don’t ruin this for us” look.

So I put on the only long pants in my duffle bag, a pair of orange psychedelic flower pajama pants.

terlingua-horses

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