I have a passion for what some might call “bad photos.” You know the ones, where the camera snaps before your eyes were open or before you lifted your head or your hand isn’t perfectly on your hip yet or your mouth is making an awkward upside-down duck bill. These, by far, are a few of my favourite things. If my friends allowed me, I would make shirts with all their stupid grins, drunken smirks, distance glances, and awkward stances; and I would wear them with pride.
Of course there are just ‘bad photos,’ and its tough to put my finger on what it is that differentiates the special ones from the ones we ought to chuck in the waste basket. But, for me at least, I think it comes down to a few simple things.
First, it starts with my love for candid photos. There’s something so much more real about them then posed photos. Sure, a great head shot can make you look like a movie star but often they look well, posed. I find increasingly I am shying away from things and people that don’t feel genuine. We’re human and full of flaws and awkward moments and it feels so much more sincere to embrace that in its entirety.
Candid pictures get to the heart of their subject. I swear I can hear the laughter of my friends by the crinkled in their nose. Or be transported to the moment that made them laugh so hard. I can smell the breeze that flipped their hair. I can feel all over again how that person makes me feel when I’m with them.
Further, I do so adore little weirdnesses and personality quirks. They’re what make each of us so unique and different. How someone holds their face, their smile, or even their body when no one is looking is so much more natural than what they do upon hearing ‘1,2,3 cheese.’
Also, and we can’t forget this, there’s an inherently and beautifully comic nature of these pictures. They’re the moments that aren’t supposed to be captured. And they often raise more questions than they answer. They leave you wondering what could have possibly been said for him to make that face, or why she is the only one laughing, and how did he end up like that? These pictures pull me in and make me want to weave a story. These pictures are Mona Lisa’s smile again and again, (minus the oil on canvas and the 12 years taken to complete).
Maybe its a stretch to say that pictures of my friends standing awkwardly, grimacing sideways, or tumbling somewhere are equivalent to a da Vinci masterpiece, but to me they capture a very honest moment of humanity.
I wish my friends could see just how spectacularly beautiful their awkward faces are. That’s who I want to be reminded of, the face I see when we’re laughing too hard to breathe, or silently staring in opposite direction.
This is who they are to me, in the every day way. And I think they’re magnificent.