In The Background


There are too many pictures on my computer. Digital photography has absolved us from wasted money and resources. So now we’re profligate with our picture-taking, knowing we can delete whatever isn’t worth keeping.

Except we don’t. At least, I don’t. I can’t bear to part with them. For instance:

Last night I set out to cull the photos of Michael’s baptism. At first blush, I thought it would be easy: there were eight to ten pictures of every part of the ritual, and a couple dozen of our family. But as my finger paused above the “delete” key, my breath caught. Not at the foreground. At what was happening in the background.

There was this one: my godfather kissing my little sister’s forehead.

And this one, in which Alex’s expression as he holds his cousin’s hand is absolutely priceless:

Sometimes the surprise is in the action, but off-center, and not what you were taking a picture of, like this absolutely adorable moment between Christian and Julianna:

Sometimes the person behind the camera (my cousin Becky, in this case) realizes what’s going on and actually focuses in on it:

The camera captures something pretty profound in these pictures: while we’re distracted paying attention to the main stage, there’s a beautiful, complex world of other relationships playing out in the background, spinning threads that weave us all together and give depth to a world that will always, no matter how old and jaded and crusty we get, be able to surprise us.

(Linked to Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus)

5 thoughts on “In The Background

  1. Completely agree, I have the hardest time culling pictures because I often find something of value in any given one. Thank you for sharing more pictures of your beautiful family.

  2. I had a similar experience like that today. I was going through some pictures but I just couldn’t delete them. I kept finding little things in the photos that I hadn’t noticed before and realized those pictures were worth the space they took up on my computer!

  3. I agree that it is really hard to cull photographs. You wrote beautifully about the relationships we sometimes unknowingly capture. I wanted to say, “on film” as I was a certified professional photographer in the days of film.

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