Because life is a series of edits

Less Like a Photo, More Like a Mug Shot

In Family, Young Ones on January 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm

My eight-year-old received a digital camera for Christmas. Along with taking a myriad of photos of the cats and other various and sundry subjects, she's done an admirable job sharing her present with her sisters so they can do the same. That's the good news.

The other news is that, while the girls have no technical capability to upload said camera's pictures to the Internet, I can't quite get over the fear of one day logging on and finding a less-than-flattering image (it doesn't take much) of yours truly making the rounds of the World Wide Web. Think Shamu in a Speedo. My apologies in advance if such horrors ever come to pass.

Of course, we've had the discussion (reinforced several times) of what is/is not appropriate to photograph. Our basic guidelines are: 1) subjects have to know they are being photographed; 2) they have to be agreeable to it; and 3) regardless of whether they know or are agreeable, they have to be fully-clothed. Violations are immediately deleted, use of the camera indefinitely suspended, and guidelines inevitably revisited.

As I was yet again just "captured" (knowingly, agreeably, and fully-clothed), the Lord brought to mind a question: what do my children really "capture" of their father without my knowledge, agreement, or coverage? In other words, what are the "pictures" my kids are "taking" of me that, unlike the digital versions I can edit and make go away, will never be deleted from their memory, especially photos that are less than flattering spiritually, emotionally, and personally?

Playing out the parallel, it's not just the candid shots of who I am that worry me; after all, formal portraits can easily look as silly over time (if you don't believe me, revisit what you as a high schooler were wearing for the dreaded family portrait; circa 1987, we were all in pastels). The private snapshots of a father losing one's cool or being harsh with his children are never flattering, but neither are the public photos of his accomplishments if they're at the expense of relationship with his kids. To be the subject of either is not a goal of mine – that's when a picture feels less like a photo and more like a mug shot.

Seeing as how I have no brilliant application (other than we fathers need to pray God will protect our kids from ourselves), below is one of those random shots of the digital variety my eight-year-old took. This one meets our three guidelines and features my best side.

Daddy Driving

While there are plenty more where this one came from, I'm quite sure she's also taken other non-digital "photos" that will probably be on display in future personal/family counseling sessions. Unlike digital photos, however, those pics are still developing.

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