Your Missing Family Member
Where are they? There is always one missing, every single time. You may not notice it much until one day, many years down the road. You'll be watching a video or looking at photos as a family and someone will say, "How come there are not many with Dad (or, Mom) in them"? "Where was so and so when this was taken"?
The answer is universally, "Because, I'm the photographer". or, "I'm the man behind the camera". Looking back at my family albums, I can attest to that. My dad was the person behind the camera and movie camera. He managed to keep the subject matter in the frame although he was a panner. He would pan across the landscape, whatever it was, thinking he was capturing something awesome. Oh, every once in awhile, you would see his family in it ever so briefly. As a filmmaker, he tended to focus on buildings and landscapes rather than his family, which is the point of home movies- you know, catch that once in a lifetime moment. He did that, but he was seldom in the movie. In fact, I hardly have any of him in a movie. I know the reason, my mom. The few times she is the photographer or cinematographer there are: beheadings (without blood), skewed frames, missing torsos, missing persons, and other oddities. She tried, just had issues with the viewfinder to aim with a Polaroid or Kodak. Every once in awhile, she was spot on target! Of course, my brother and me certainly were not appealing targets. There are few photos at the younger ages that are "normal" (i.e., smiling). Most of the time, we would pretend to be normal and the second after the "ready" command was announced, we made silly, retarded faces. It amused Dad, yet, also pissed him off. No matter how often he threatened some retaliation, the faces would happened. He gave up. They are precious snaps of time, now. Dad was wrong, we enhanced the photo! Of course, as we got older, we complied because it was just too stupid.
The only way to avoid the "missing family member" syndrome, is to use a stranger, a tripod (with a camera with a self timer), some nearby object as a camera perch. The stranger still works today, but it is embarrassing in public settings, but stay focused. The object is to have NO missing family members in the photo. One has to provide training about the camera's function, this could take time. Strangers are good for not more than two photos and all you can do is pray the photo will be good. The tripod is like a non-human stranger. Once it is set you let the timer tick and everyone smiles and wait. How many times has nothing happened?! Ugh! Or, the flash failed to flash, ugh! Or, someone in the photo ruins an otherwise fantastic picture? ugh! Or, worse, something makes the tripod unstable. With a tripod, one also has to "frame" the area and what will or not be included, before the timer is set and people rush to their places. Something always goes wrong.
The most expensive way to have no missing family member in the photo or film is to hire a someone who does this @$200-500 hr. Ah, only the very rich can do this.
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