I have this need to capture every moment in images. It started in 1994 when I went to Europe with my boyfriend at the time (my longest relationship -- on-again, off-again for nine years). We backpacked across Europe for 26 days, going to to England, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. I knew that I might never see these places again so I had to record everything. My boyfriend thought I took too many photos. I don't think I took nearly enough. At the time I had a terrible cheap little 110mm camera. With the parallax error some of my pictures were quite horrendous. The camera was so poorly designed that what you see in the viewfinder isn't even what you are actually photographing. Many of those shots were crap. Except in Venice where it's so picturesque it's impossible to take a bad picture. Even in the rain. I didn't know what I was doing. Before that I didn't even own a camera. My boyfriend had borrowed his dad's camera which was of much better quality. Unfortunately he would only take a picture if he thought it was "worthy." He didn't want to get photos of me in front of the landmarks I'd crossed the world to see because he thought that was cheesy. I had to twist his arm. I explained that if we weren't in the photos then there was no proof we were ever even there! Photos of us at all the major sites were the best souvenirs we could have. He didn't want to "clutter" the photos up with us. (This could be one of the many reasons we didn't work out!) Luckily I did get him to take a picture of me in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum and my favourite castle, Neuschwanstein in Bavaria.) I took 30 rolls of film. At the time that seemed like a lot. It's nothing compared to how many digital photos I take now. If I had Europe to do over again I would take a hundred times more photos. Probably a thousand times more. I could snap 30 rolls of film in one hour!
Photos are tangible memories. Time is so fleeting. The camera allows you to freeze a moment and preserve it forever. That is priceless to me. After Europe, I was hooked. The rest of my life would be frozen in images. I took my camera everywhere. I'm so grateful for the photos of Europe and of all my travels and adventures. Over the years I have had several cameras. I was constantly upgrading, partially by choice and partially necessity. I had a Canon which was destroyed in Montreal when a stranger offered to take a picture of my boyfriend at the time and I and then proceeded to DROP it on the concrete! "You want I take your picture?" he had asked with a thick accent. Not a French accent. I don't know where he was from. Possibly from Hell! The pictures survived but the camera didn't. The stranger muttered sorry. I was devestated. I made sure to get a camera with a self-timer next time so that I wouldn't need a stranger to take our picture again. Some cameras (Minolta, Pentax) just wore out. Three years with me would be like thirty years with anyone else. I take that many pictures. It's quantity more than quality really but as one of my teachers said once, you produce quantity to get quality. They're not all gems but if you snap 100 you're bound to get at least one perfect shot.
So here I am now with my first child. And yes, of course I'm snap happy! A real paparazzo! (Or Mamarazzo!) Michelle has gotten used to staring down the lens of a Nikon, to seeing the flash, to hearing me squeal "Where's your smile, baby?" At least now with digital photos you don't have to get them all "developed." I could never afford to print them all out! You can take 100 shots and choose the best few. I do want to print some out for a photo album but God knows when I'll be able to go to one of those kiosks. There's no WAY Michelle would let me stand still for that long! I've heard that you can order photos online, then just pick them up. I'll have to look into it. That may be my only hope of having a baby album for Michelle. I don't even know how many pictures I've taken of her so far...At least a thousand I think. And it's only been two months!
She's been standing a little as well, with a lot of help from me. She is always kicking her legs and sometimes stiffens them so much I thought I'd try standing her on my lap. She did surprisingly well (of course it's hard to get a photo because I need to hold her with both hands!) My Mom said don't be too anxious for her to stand and walk or she'll be getting into all sorts of mischief. She said that once Michelle is moving around I may be looking back at these early days as easy because at least she wasn't mobile so I had some control over her. (Not that I have much control mind you. She's the one in the driver's seat and calling the shots!)