Don’t (or do) put me in a picture

Last night was night two of the Wavelength music festival. Where the first night had been pretty loud, with lots of distorted guitars and such, last night gravitated more toward the dance-ier end of the spectrum, with stunning performances particularly from Blue Hawaii and Cadence Weapon, and probably Doldrums (I didn’t get to see Doldrums, to my disappointment; my living outside of Toronto usually gives me a cutoff time in which I’m still able to catch the subway as part of my way home, unless I can crash at a friend’s place).

But the first act of the night was a band called Thighs, who played not on the Black Box Theatre’s stage, but in the audience. It made for an extra challenge for the night’s photographers, especially because of the tendency of the lead singer to move to various points on the floor. At one point, I saw one of the photographers snap a picture of the lead singer, and I was directly in the line of sight for the camera. In my head I thought “Aw crap, I’m going to be in this picture, aren’t I?”

Sure enough, when I looked at photos from last night’s show, there was a picture of Thighs’ lead singer singing into the microphone, and me, with my hands in my pockets, looking in another direction.

I have a love-hate relationship with photography. The hatred comes largely from my lost ability to smile with an open mouth. When I went through the excruciatingly long 2.5-year braces process plus an additional year of wearing a retainer full-time, I would always, always smile with my mouth closed, lest I have a repeat of my first-ever driver’s license photo (which the world, thankfully, will never have to see again).

I’ve not had to wear a retainer full-time for some time now, but I’ve lost that ability to smile with my mouth open. It’s just gone. Apparently smiling is not like riding a bike, the latter of which one allegedly never forgets. But the smiling isn’t the only thing. I hate posing for family photos. I don’t know what kindles the intense hatred of standing with ten or so people for a photo, but it kills me.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed in the last few months that I actually want to be in photos a little more often than I am. In this day and age, how many photos you’re in almost comprises a part of your identity. Well look, she’s in photos with people every week, she must be really social and fun! He’s tagged in so many photos you wonder if he has any spare time; how cool! I’m totally making this up, I doubt people decide who cool other people are by how many photos they’re in, but I do it just to make a point.

On Facebook, I am tagged in an exceedingly small amount of photos, mostly because I don’t attend a lot of events that entail taking photographs. The last photo I was tagged in of me, I believe, was taken in August of last year. Prior to that, it might have been during a Christmas party when I was in grade twelve (which was four years ago).

I also rarely find the occasion to change my profile picture, though I feel like I’m maybe getting a little better at that as time goes on. My most current profile picture I just changed to on Thursday, and previously to that it went up in late November (that is progress, by the way; I remember having a photo of me and Jon Janes of The Mountains and the Trees as my profile picture for possibly a year or longer).

Then again, I shouldn’t have expectations for other people to include me in their pictures. I rarely take pictures myself. I thought getting a smartphone and downloading Instagram would encourage me to be less discerning about what I photograph, but it just didn’t do that for me. So I’m partly to blame for my lack of appearances in photos, I guess.

Whatever the case, I still can never decide if I love or hate photos more than the other.


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