I wrote a post last week (or so) about how pictures tell as story…yet not. There's always a story that the picture doesn't tell. Maybe it's because a picture only shows so much and the real story (or at least another layer or the story) is happening outside the frame. Maybe that was intentional or maybe there was just more going on behind the scenes that whoever shared it just kept it simple versus adding a really long caption. Pictured not pictured is the best way to describe it. Perhaps not super original or clever, but effective. #PicturedNotPictured
As someone who spends a lot of her time behind a camera lens, the story that the picture doesn't grab fascinates me. I find myself looking at other people's pictures and wanting to know more or to know “the real story” even if the real story is something simple and bland like “cute kid was throwing a tantrum 10 seconds before I got this shot” or “she had on really cute shoes…I wish I would have used a wider angle so you could see them.”
As a story teller (visual and otherwise) I find myself admiring my awesome photographic skills (seriously, people…you have to be willing to brag on yourself sometimes) and wanting to tell more of the story that one picture just can't. Or, to reveal more of myself than what my comfort zone tells me I want to reveal. Some of this stems from the 30 day writing challenge I'm doing that is making me more conscious of flexing my creative muscles and pushing myself beyond what I've established as my norm. Maybe challenging my norms.
So let's make it a thing. Let's tell more stories behind the stories and tell more stories for storytelling's sake. Anyone can do this. You don't have to have a blog or a byline in a magazine. If you post pictures on social media, I challenge you to join me and hashtag them #PicturedNotPictured. You can also tag me – I'm @rippedjeansandbifocals on both Facebook and Instagram so I can read about the stories behind your stories.
Here's my latest #PicturedNotPictured
What you do see – pictured:
You see me. That is me this past February at Palo Duro Canyon State Park which is my favorite place ever. If you want to read more about the area, click here…and if you get the chance, go.
You see a woman in hiking gear in a beautiful place on a beautiful day. She looks strong, confident, happy.
What you don't see – not pictured:
You don't see my kid who is behind the person taking the picture who is pouting about his apple. I don't know what the big deal was about his apple but I remember his pouty face was looking toward the camera.
And while I am strong and mostly happy, I am not confident. I hate having my picture taken. I could tell you a hundred things that are wrong with my body. I could tell you that getting older scares me, not because I'm getting old but because I feel less relevant. Invisible. Unimportant.
There's nobody in my life that contributes to my feeling the way I do about myself. I've made a conscious effort to limit my contact with toxic and negative people. The negative self-talk is all me. I fake a good game of having confidence I don't feel inside. My feelings of invisibility have more to do with comparing myself to others than my own characteristics, good and bad. I'm a late starter and a late bloomer in a lot of ways and I compare myself to younger women who probably don't struggle with those feelings of increasing invisibility.
Maybe that's not fair. I don't know what anyone else struggles with unless they reveal it, as I am revealing my feelings about invisibility that don't make it into any picture. Maybe admitting I feel this way will be the first step to conquering those feelings or at least to keeping them in check. Maybe someone else will see this and it will validate the way they feel about their self. Maybe they'll tell me “me too” and I'll feel validated, less alone.
I don't have the answers. I do know that no picture ever tells the whole story.
Just for fun, here's all of us. You can see why I want to go back to Palo Duro so badly, can't you?