Does it bother anyone else how good all we ordinary people have gotten at posing for photographs? How eager, how easeful, how undeniably skilled. And that our talent at getting our picture took seems to be developing at an earlier and earlier age?
Everyone above the age of three now seems to know just where to look when a cell phone is pointed their direction, how to smile at it on cue, how to smile again – exactly the same way – for the just-in-case-I/we-didn’t-get-it-the first-time shots. Everyone is a good hugger now. We’re excellent smilers. And all of America – despite substantial and growing non-photographic evidence to the contrary – is awfully damn happy with their lives.
Happy couples, happy families, happy lives. Good American people pleased with wherever they happen to be when the camera happens to capture their latest moment of pleasure. Pleased with the other people in the shot. Most of all, pleased with themselves.
At the risk of being called perverse – it won’t be the first time – I miss the days when not everyone posing for cameras knew where to look, how to stand, what to do when the world said cheese. When we weren’t all good huggers and some of us couldn’t manage an easy, happy smile if our lives depended on it. Perversely, too, I relished those photos where strain was apparent. When the seams sometimes showed. When a picture actually did tell a story. A picture that – once in a great while – was worth a thousand words.