Sunday, December 27, 2009

An Aside: A Christmas Day without photos

Christmas 2009 for me and my family was one spent without me taking photos. A part of me regrets that I won't have any photos to document the day, but the other part rejoices that I have memories of good times that I actually participated in! Can I live with the regrets? I guess I can for as long as I can remember all that transpired, which I pray will be for the rest of my life. I think this blog post will help too!

Last week I blogged about whether or not I should be the professional photographer taking photos of my brother's upcoming wedding. I got some great feedback from fellow friends and shooters, one who has dealt with similar questions, another who says he would never take photos at his sister's wedding, and yet one more who said maybe I could shoot a little bit, but still enjoy the day as a guest experiencing the event and not always working like a professional would be. Thanks for your help Jeff, Mark and Jim!

To test the idea of what it would be like to leave my 5D at home and my G9 in my purse during a major family event, I decided not to shoot any images Friday during my first Christmas Day spent with my sister and new nephew, 1-year-old Elijah. Even though no one said anything, I had a feeling that everyone was wondering why I didn't have my other appendage attached to my hands and my face. Maybe I was MSU (making stuff up) in my head. I bet no one other than me, and maybe a passing thought, cared that I didn't have my camera out!

There were times when I literally had to force myself to stay seated and resist the urge to run for my G9. For instance, before dinner, Elijah and I were spending time together in front of the Christmas tree, with him earnestly trying to "speak to me" in that cute baby language of his and me not being able to understand a word of it but enjoying it anyway. It became clear that he was "talking" to me about the tree when he crouched down in front of it and put his face so close to the lights that he was almost kissing it. The red colors reflected on his questioning, probing face lit from the tree lights was so amazing it just about broke this photographer's heart not to shoot it. Instead, now, I have it etched in my mind's heart. And I won't tell anyone that my nephew stole a candy cane from the tree either! ;)

Elijah's insistence that EVERY present was "Mine, Mine!"
Elijah kissing Mama Jessie, the family elder, over and over again just for the fun of it.
The fear in D.J.'s face when he thought we would get set while playing spades, and the thrill of his kiss on my cheek every time when we won!
Watching Kevin, the skinniest family member, wolf down plate after plate of food.
Soothing a newly awakened and cranky Elijah from his mid day nap.
Fighting over the best leftovers.
Hugging AJ when the inevitable family argument broke out.
Modeling in front of an appreciative crowd in my new furry scarf and hat set that showcases my facial features
The hidden joy I felt when everyone dug into my dressing.
The thrill of meeting someone new.
Cheering on the Nuggets and laughing when Elijah dances during the hip hop commercials.
Reveling in new family members who have become a part of my own thanks to the birth of one little boy.

I could have tried to shoot all of this in my camera, but I'm thinking whatever I took would have paled in the comparison of actually experiencing it. And I would have been ticked off anyway if I tried to shoot it and failed miserably in capturing the moment the way it actually played out. I wish I could find some middle ground so that it's not all or nothing for me. I was so tired after being "on" and shooting during Thanksgiving, trying hard not to miss anything, that I was exhausted and ended up taking a nap alongside Elijah! I missed out on so much while I was sleeping. I didn't want that to happen again. Sure, I'm envious of all the beautiful photos my friends have been sharing of their holiday. But now, at least for once, I will let memory guide me and see if I'm closer to making a decision about whether I should shoot my bro's wedding or not.

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