The worst picture I never took was an experimental shot on the part of my wedding photographer who superimposed my face over my then-husband standing at the altar. I looked like a huge looming nightmare which I suppose is what photographers mean when they talk about "emotional truth." My mother and would-be mother-in-law both looked grim and trying not to be, the adult equivalent of the forced child's smile on Santa's lap. None of the pictures from this event were particularly inspired except the one of me dancing with my father, a shot that's hard to screw up under the worst of circumstances. My dad looks happy in the picture and thank God that one didn't capture the emotional truth -- his usually stoic self took to his bed for two days and cried after the big day. At the announcement of my divorce, a day I had dreaded, both of my parents, who liked my then-husband, looked happy beyond belief. I wish I'd thought to hire a photographer for that day.
Even though photography is my favorite visual art, I have a complicated relationship with it. My friend Hank actually punched someone for taking a picture of him entering a party. He spent the rest of the night trying to figure out who he'd hit (one of the problems of being blind and hitting someone in a fit of rage, I suppose) and feeling bad about it. He pulled a Sean Penn before Mr. Penn had! That's bad-ass! He hated pictures and said that if you were having a good time, nobody ever thought to bring out a camera. But I still love taking shots (it suits my personality -- even the word choice is aggressive, taking shots) as a way of understanding things. Still, I don't know how much reality one can capture, either as the photographer or the subject. Shortly after this picture was taken, the bubble burst all over my eye. I rubbed it into my contact for maximum pain and had to take the contact out, had to rinse out my eye and cursed a long time. I'd already burned myself in the torchy inferno that was my second birthday cake trying to get the camera to capture that perfect moment of wonder and awe before the wax melted into the frosting in little pools that resembled blood. It takes a lot of work to look natural, relaxed, and happy, but hey, that's an emotional truth that I've always known.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I came to New York to see what I could see -- and find the living part." Edie Sedgwick
Drinking music suggestion: Back To Black Amy Winehouse
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sopranos night!