The Spirit in the Photograph

The family got together and tried to take a photograph together:

Challenges here: The Saga of the Family Photos

Precursor here: The Family Photo Saga Part 2

How do you dress for a family photograph?

Motive matters.

  • If you are going for the preserve-family-as-we-are aspect of things, then I suppose we lounge around in daily clothes, crack jokes and laugh at them in a manner that will make Vogue photographers cringe. #BeCool
  • If you are going for the best-behavior-photographs, then I suppose you resort to the prim look, and smile at the photographer like you are meeting him for a job interview. #JobInterview
  • If you are looking for the social propriety angle, then of course you observe and deduce based on women dressed in Tamil TV Serials before their daily evening coffee at home. #TamilTVSerials
  • If you are looking for the co-ordinated angle, what are the colors to pick out? Should we all wear blue and look like Smurfs? #Smurfs smurf_dino

The problem happens when each one is aiming for a different objective.

  • The sister-in-law in a bid to impress her mother-in-law (viz. my mother) shed the slacks and tights and swooped in looking beautiful in a saree (#TamilTVSerials look). The mother said, “See how beautiful your sister-in-law looks in a saree?” This did not bode well for me. Luckily a blouse emergency shot this option down.
  • The sister went in for the #Smurfs angle and said, “A bright color looks the best”. She paraded the sunflower-with-stalks look.
  • The t-shirt wearing men were hustled out of their t-shirts by smart men in pressed shirts and pants. (#JobInterview look)
  • Bearded Blokes refused to shave and went for the #BeCool look.

So it went. For every member of the family not playing with toy cars under sofas.

In all the melee, we forgot to soak the toddler boys, for whose sake the picture was being taken, in Dettol and scrub them with coconut-bristled-brushes. They continued playing till the last minute and looked delightfully dirty. It was in the car on the way to the studio that these boys were made look presentable.

The highlight of the family picture was the fact that as the photographer’s assistant tried to arrange folks one after the other in a way that will make us look good in spite of the clothes and the colors, the grand head of the family took a roll-call in true school teacher style only to find the youngest member of the family missing.

If one were to read through the chronicles – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, you will notice the photograph was being taken to update the presence of the recently-added-to-family toddler boys. It turns out that the youngest one decided to play with his toy car under the studio chair beyond the range of the lens, and refused to budge. Chocolates did not help, future domestic world war threats did not work. Carrying him with the studio chair did not help. It looked like the picture was going to be taken without him after all.

Every picture has a story. I called the father a social dinosaur who might have called the photographer’s assistant to join in if you remember. True to the father’s nature, this family photograph did have the photographer’s assistant in it. His spirit can be spotted lingering in the photo. A chirpy young man, who showed absolute promise by cajoling the little fellow, hiding his toy car and flashing it out of his pocket at the right moment, making the boy look up in glee.

wildflower_dino

The boy who looked up at the last minute after all this drama looks best, and as far as we are concerned, it does not matter if the rest of us had our eyes open, or were picking our nose, or were about to sneeze.

That is probably why we looked like a dysfunctional bouquet of sorts. I have always liked the impromptu wildflower bouquets with their riot of color, wild grasses and ferns. Captures the beauty of the wilderness.

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4 thoughts on “The Spirit in the Photograph”

      1. The whole nine yards! Shudder!
        Guess they thought since they were already mummies – didn’t need any more wrapping up?

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