Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why I take so many photos....

Short answer: I enjoy it. 

Real answer: For me photos hold the good and let go of the not so good. 
They remind me of the Atonement. 

We all have some "memories" that are really just memories of photos and the stories we've been told about them. 

This picture of me for instance. I don't know what my baby-hood was like, but from this picture I imagine peaceful days, propped on a blanket drinking in freshness into my own fresh lungs. Peering out my oh so young eyes at a nature I couldn't even yet distinguish myself from.  Springtime the perfect backdrop for my own little bud of an existence. 
Soft blanket protecting against the prickles of grass, thick innocence protecting me from the prickles of reality . Chubby wrists, cool and happy in a cotton sun-dress. Only the slightest glint of hair on my baby-bald head. My eyes, serious (just like my one day infant sons'), dark. Nose already setting it's course slightly turned up, barely noticeable amid pillowy cheeks. 

And inside this baby is
I always loved this picture, that seemed to campaign my whole childhood as wrapped in sunlight, security and peaceful serenity. The literal "poster-child" for the ideals I would form about what childhood should be.

What if my mom hadn't taken that picture? (this is also the picture that made me determined to learn depth of field ie fuzzy backgrounds)

My mother has reassured me that there were plenty of other not so "picture perfect moments". Like my love of eating dog food, or better yet sharing a toothbrush with my puppy. Yet photos fill my mind with images of angel-food birthday cakes, and spaghetti bowls joyfully smeared all over me and my high-chair, lines of dollies with me as their proud mamma, waving on my tricycle, Sunday dresses and "cheese" smiles.

And I'm glad. 

Another example from adulthood: I went to the zoo once. It was hot, very hot. And I was pregnant, very pregnant. 
Basically it was kinda a miserable day. A day that kept me from the zoo for two years, because I saw it as a place that highlighted Aaron's differnce, where I was forced to watch other children identify and delight in recognizing and labeling the various animals. 

Yup, it was a hard, emotionally harsh day. 

But I took pictures. And when I complied them into a digital page, I was struck by how fun it looked. 
Us, standing infront of the Calgary Zoo sign long before all the toddlers got tired and started melting down.
 Aaron giving quizzical looks to the dinosaur statues. 

Now some may say that's not truthful. That's false. A "photo-shopped" version of life. 

I think of it as "accentuate the positive" ( Thank you Pres Hinckley)

And I think it's what the Atonement does, 
it takes everything, the good the bad, the ugly, the heart-breaking, the tragic and traumatic and works them together for our good. (Romans 8:28)

 "swallowed up in Christ" (Mosiah 16:7-8)

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis from the Great Divorce

"both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective...all this earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on earth too, will then be seen by the damned to have been Hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, 'Let me but have this and I'll take the consequences: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin.
"Both processes begin even before death. The good man's past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man's past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say, 'We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,' and the Lost, 'We were always in Hell.' And both will speak truly."  

I am so grateful how the Lord takes the hellish things of my life-- the hard things, and the hurtful things and slowly, gradually but steadily and constantly beautifies them, consecrate them, and sanctify them into my heaven. I'm so grateful to know I'm not waiting for that to one day to happen in some far off celestial realm (though some promises may wait til them), but that the healing and hope I seek is being granted now. That my heaven is being crafted and experienced each and everyday as I access His grace through His atonement.

Every time I look through our photo albums (or scroll through Jpegs, cuz let's face it the photo albums are already crazily behind) I just think, "Wow what a great life! So many beautiful people and wonderful blessings." And I think C.S. Lewis would agree that I "speak truly."

Not a picture perfect life.
But a perfected one.
One given by He who is perfect, and sees the whole picture.

And that, my friends, is why I take soooo many pictures.

My little camera eye already practicing.


Karlene said...Best Blogger Tips

i finally got my computer cord so now i can properly "blog stalk" yo but i just need to tell ya that

you + your blog = AMAZING

Chelsea Belle said...Best Blogger Tips

oh Karlene, I'll be "stalking" you right back.
I love your description of yourself "average mom with a few twists"...
we all have a few twists don't we!
I think amazing would be a much better description than "average" though.

Did you guys end up moving into Lethbridge?

Crystal HW said...Best Blogger Tips

Great post, Chelsea. Taking pics is so great! It definitely is for memories and how they evoke feelings or messages.

Marie said...Best Blogger Tips

I am catching up on my photoalbum-ing, (pregnancy always makes me want to finish things up) and I am getting closer. But I need to print off a few more pictures, so I was scrolling though on my camera, deleting away so that I could bring the memory card into Walmart with just the ones I wanted to print ---- and save all that time at their little kiosks. Anyway, I was going through months of pictures and really, truely, had forgotten so many of the great moments we've had this summer. Yes, I remembered going to the lake, but did I remember that completely joyful face of Harrison's as he ate a chocolate ice cream cone? Nope. I am so thankful for pictures.

I've heard people say that photoalbums aren't really an honest account of people's lives - nothing but parties, costumes, and picnics. But I don't think that is true. Those parts of life are just as real, just as honest, as mopping the kitchen floor. They both happened, but who wants to hold on to those ho-hum moments, when sweeter ones are right there, waiting to be saved?

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips

I love your blog and your pictures Chelsea. These past few months I've been dealing with Auntie's Alzheimer's and all those pictures that we take as life moves along come as such a comfort to her and the rest of us. Her memory may be going but those photos wake it up. Never stop taking pictures Sweetie!

Grammarules said...Best Blogger Tips

I love your blog and your pictures Chelsea. These past few months I've been dealing with Auntie's Alzheimer's and all those pictures that we take as life moves along come as such a comfort to her and the rest of us. Her memory may be going but those photos wake it up. Never stop taking pictures Sweetie!

Chelsea Belle said...Best Blogger Tips

Sister Bly (you'll always be that or Kristi's mom to me!)
thanks for the encouragement, I often think, my family gets to a point of annoyance with me always snapping away..things, people change so fast. I love that picture you had on facebook of all the Bly kids bundled up!

Give "auntie" an extra squeeze from me. (I just read a beautiful book about early on-set Alzheimer's called "Still Alice by Lisa Genova, really good!)

Marie:I agree. Life is "honestly" beautiful, all the big moments, all the simple sunny days, and even the up-turned mop buckets! Actually, that post about the RS meeting, made me realize I don't take enough photos of everyday things, like primary worker friends ( that one of us at the primary activity is like all I have), or nights out with an old visiting teacher, or even weekly play group...people that because we don't go on trips or spend holidays together get forgotten...I'm actually trying to capture the everyday a little more. (Wow there is gonna be a massive amount of jPegs!)