Monday, February 26, 2007

"Normal" Pictures

At some undefinable point in the 20th century, it became "normal" to pose for a photograph by smiling big enough to show your teeth and to give the appearance that you are happy. I am not sure who decided this or how it became common knowledge, but I would really like to know. It has not always been like this. I know that in the in 19th century the "normal" pose consisted of a blank stare. When did the switch occur? Who started the revolution?

For some unknown reason, I have always resisted this notion of taking a "normal" picture. Even a majority of my baby pictures feature me sticking my tongue out. To be honest, it is one of my secret joys in life to hear the groans of people realizing that I failed to conform to the norm. It used to be so much more satisfactory before the digital age because then it would be weeks before someone would realize I "ruined" their picture and it was also a lot more permanent because you could not exactly take pictures back. In the digital age, people realize it a lot quicker when they look at that 2.5'' screen. Which is another interesting point - why do people always look at the tiny digital screen immediately after they take a picture? I understand that you want to take a "good" picture, but I think that it is quite comical to see a group of adults cramming around a miniature screen to see a digital image of what you just experienced in real life. Perhaps it is an indication of how vain we all are.

At any rate, I want to be the one who ushers in a new dawn in the era of picture posing. The 19th century was all about blank stares and appearing serious, the 20th century was all about toothy smiles and appearing happy, and I want to be the revolutionary who makes the 21st century all about eyes closed, mouth wide open and appearing mischievously jovial. So join me in this new venture and when you get chastised for failing to take a "normal" picture, simply say that you are.

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