Monday, May 17, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 38

#38 - "You are not Ansel Adams, so always put people in your pictures.”
(Here's a photo that you could write a book from! Family members - 1950's)
When my first husband (of many) and I went on our 2-week honeymoon in 1966 to Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, we took lots of pictures of the many beautiful landscapes, but I only remember one, of me standing close to the edge of the grand canyon. It was the only photo we took that had a person in it. When I saw all those photos, none of which did the scenery anything close to justice, I flashed on what mom taught me a million times. “You’re not Ansel Adams SueAnn,” she’d say. “Put some people in the picture. Otherwise it just won’t be interesting.” Gaud, she was right again! Click on Read More below for the full story...

How many times have your rushed to look at the thousands of photos you took of stunning landscapes, only to sit there with a rather baffled, squinty look on your face, thinking, “Now why did I take that picture?” They just simply never turn out the way you think they will, and never as interesting as when they include people.

We are fascinated with photos of people aren’t we? I will look for hours at albums of people that I don’t even know, seeking stories in their faces, their clothes, and their body language. This group of photos  (right) was ornately posted on a bulletin board in a charming little town square in Italy. We didn’t know any of the people or exactly what it was all about, but we were mesmerized.

There seems to also be a correlation between age and appreciation for photos of people. I remember being younger and hating it when my mom wanted to take photos, show me photos or talk about photos. I could have cared less, I was too busy livin’. Now, perhaps I gravitate to photos to remember, validate, recapture, and remind me of what my mom called “her valuables.” Mom always said that family, people, were the only valuables, the rest was just vanity. It took me many years to truly appreciate that.

My family members are my valuables. The only valuables that truly matter.

So mom was right, always put people in your photos because you’re not Ansel Adams, and people are valuable.

Have a wonderful week!



  1. OMG. You're right; Mommy had a zillion photos of people and I hated being held hostage to the interminable explanations of who was holding whose child, married to whosey-whatsey, who was related to so and so, standing behind the woman in the polka-dotted dress, and the guy on the big motorcycle (I'm not singling out anyone here). And, didn't she go to the prom with what's-his-name? The connections between the people in her photos seemed endless to a kid. These days, I can't get enough of photos of people. Jane

  2. By the way, did those bottles of Coca-Cola contain the "real thing"?

  3. Totally agree! While I love some of my landscapes of the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, mountains, etc. I treasure my pics of family and friends. Wish I had more of my parents; they were great about taking pics of my brother and me but not so much themselves.

  4. Jane: I'll bet there was some booze and cigarettes lurking about too! At some point n time I remember seeing an old photo of your mom and dad and Dorothy and Carrol, taken at the Teepee honky tonk in Rankin. I'd love to find that photo. Ask you mom about it.

    Nancy: There's a lesson for us all here. When we're gone, our children will cherish photos of us, so make sure they have plenty of them!

    Thank you Jane and Nancy for your comments.

  5. This makes me want to do what I've been meaning to ~ print out all my digital photos.Digital cameras are great, we're able to take tons of pictures; but unless we print them out some day there will be nothing to hold and remember upon. Great post. Keep writing and taking pictures.

  6. Thanks for your encouragement and comments Jamie - My daughter says that all the time. We have to print photos!