Thursday, March 15, 2012
Proving we are nowhere near fancy enough for fabrics depicting 19th century farm scenes.
Oh, this photo. What a classic example of American consumerism and philanthropy gone...WRONG.
Many years ago, Mike and I attended an auction for G's school. It had been a while since we had a family photo taken professionally, and listed among the silent auction items was a portrait session and credit for a pretty well-known local studio. Some of you will know the company, just by seeing the picture, because their work always looks EXACTLY like this, although sometimes there is more gold and diamonds. They are VERY well known in St. Louis, but their *portraits* are generally displayed among homes that also feature priceless ceramic dogs and numerous things covered in toile.
I suppose that four years ago, I fancied myself as someone who might entertain the idea of adorning a dining room with wallpaper that contained palm trees and small (subtle) monkeys. But now I know--that's just not me. I am fabric buntings and wall-art created with mod-podge and tissue paper flowers hung from the ceiling, and they DO NOT go well with antique furniture and jewels from the Titanic.
You see, this is EXACTLY like getting married, because back in 2000, there were 5,064 choices in white (or ecru) invitations, and if you wanted to mix it up, you added a platinum border. No one wore RED heels under their white wedding gowns, and J. Crew wasn't making bridesmaid's dresses in bold color palettes. Periwinkle was da bomb (though I chose it's hideous cousin, MAUVE). I did it traditional, because it was before the age when the Internet was TRULY helpful as a creative tool, and that's what EVERYONE did. I was 22, and it was ALL beautiful to me. Until the day I saw pictures of a friend's wedding reception,, which was held in a barn, with guests that wore jeans--it was STUNNING, and I literally wept with jealousy. We are more fun and casual, and I know that now that I'm not pretending to be fancy.
In any case, when that summer rolled around, we decided it was time to cash in on our photo session, and so I set about the business of tracking down Nantucket-red chino shorts for the boys, to match the red thread in the embroidered seersucker dresses that had already been chosen for the girls. It was all carefully pressed and layed out, and then Big J went ahead and vomited the night before the big shoot, and I thought this dream of grandeur might never happen--except that the photographer told me to carry on, and that we could photoshop any residual green-ness out of his skin. Good enough for me, which is probably the first indication that I had no business hanging subtle monkey wallpaper, or any sort of oil-based picture of a mallard duck perched amongst a bed of roses.
We had the photo shoot and it was generally uneventful--except that this is where we learned that because of L's half-blindness, she has a tendency to ALWAYS angle her face to the left when told to look at the camera. This is because she can only really see out of the left side of both eyes, so it is LEGIT, and not just annoying, but it certainly cuts down on the number of decent shots we were able to get. We are photographically impaired, friends--and I might make t-shirts to educate you on this disability.
A few weeks later, we saw the photos--and we picked the best one, but this also included a plan for head-swapping in Photoshop. Except that none of Big J's pictures were *great*, so the photographer pulled him outside for a few more pictures, and ended up using THAT head, with the body that was caught on film two weeks earlier. As previously stated, this was also good enough for me; I mean, we didn't actually have to be *perfect*, we just had to have enough randomly shot pictures to piece it together that way.
At this point, we had a $150 gift certificate, which purchased us a wallet-sized picture; but the photographer insisted on coming out to our house to be able to measure our walls and suggest the right size of photo to order. I totally get this, because you really don't want it to clash with the Oriental rug, or remotely distract from your 17th century collection of porcelain bunnies--and so he came out a few days later, with what can only be described as an adjustable laser light show, and suggested we go with a 40 x 26 inch photo canvas.
Two things you should know here: 1.) I assumed that one day I would be the kind of gal that had a 40 x 26 inch, FORMAL family portrait above her mantle, and that it would be retaken every five years, and 2.) I CANNOT SAY NO to anything, which is also, coincidentally, how Mike and I now find ourselves in possession of TWO wedding albums (one for color photos, the other for black & whites).
Lifestyle family photography? You could have changed my life if you had exploded in popularity in 2006.
A couple of months later, our MASSIVE photo canvas was ready--and waiting for us to come to the studio to select a frame. At this point, we were going to need to refinance our house to afford what this was costing, so we politely declined, and I might have implied that we were having it sent to a diamond mine for framing.
But you all know what REALLY happened, don't you?
We took that photo, the equivalent of thousands of dollars in cash, and stored it in our basement. For FOUR YEARS. Until yesterday, when it made it's UNFRAMED debut over our new mantle. The irony is so freaking amazing, I can't even stand it.
And the kicker is that I don't even recognize us! Little J was still very much a toddler who still had tonsils (officially the roughest 3 years of my life), Big J's head was superimposed upon his body, everyone is wearing a belt and my hair is really short. Well, L still has her trademark side-eyes and is still the SAME SIZE, but other than that, EVERYTHING is different. We even sold the house where the photographer did his laser light show to predict the PROPER size for the photo that is now literally leaning against the fireplace wall.
We are the epitome of class and subtle monkey motifs.