Due to an impending reunion on the Architect’s side of the family, I’ve been given an ultimatum to come up with a photograph of us to be plastered on a giant poster board for all to see. Avoiding the more obvious reason that both the Architect and I will be there in person (thus rendering photographic evidence of our existence pointless), my bigger objection to this request is having to find a picture that represents us as we are at this point in our life together; it’s proving to be quite the bitch.
With eleven years behind us, it’s safe to say I have a multitude of photos of us together, although they usually fit the same format: me holding out the camera to capture both of us while the Architect makes ridiculous–yet hilarious–faces. Among the remaining few that don’t fit the previous category, I’m having a tough time choosing one that isn’t either patently offensive to the potential reunion attendees (both of us in club gear throwing up the forks probably won’t cut it with a bunch of easy-going, protestant rural folk), or one that isn’t a horrifically bland representation of one of us–usually me.
I think my problem here might be in perception, particularly that of the self. I find most of the photos of the Architect–stupid faces or not, chillin’ in tee shirt and beanie or rocking the suit and tie–endearingly charming. With him, even with the most vanilla of photos, that wicked little eye-twinkle of his is never absent. On the other hand, I find most of the photos of me to be some sort of waxy mannequin version of some girl who looks vaguely familiar. They all seem dated and odd; frozen–but not truly captured–bits of a rapidly shifting existence.
I think I have some sort of inner photograph I cart around in my mind labelled, “This is Me.” The probelm is, I’m looking through these pictures and realizing that image is purely fictional. At least as far as the camera is concerned. It might be some delusion of age or attractiveness; I don’t really know. But, I suspect it might be something deeper, something to do with the soul–or, in this case, the lack thereof. Where some cultures don’t allow photos because they might take a piece of it, I think I loathe them because they can’t grab enough.
A camera can never really capture who I am–who any of us are. All attempts are thin. Hollow. Two-dimensional. And that might just be why I can never find one I really like. It’s’ either that or because when I smile I show too much gum. Again, it’s a crap shoot. Regardless, I have to come up with a decent likeness of us before nine p.m., or my ancient, awful wedding photo will be the decision that is made for me.
On the bright side, I came back with a new avatar photo from the search.