Pictures of You, Pictures of Me

My old university roommate once said something to me that was so brilliant, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.

He said, “Paul, do you want to go to McDonald’s?”

He didn’t have to ask me twice, especially when The Golden Arches was staring at us from outside our window.

Alright, that’s not the brilliant quote. It was this:

“I have a 2000-word essay to write. I should just draw two pictures, each one is worth 1000 words.”

Genius, right?

I feel like we are in the era of photography, yet photo albums are out of style. I’m talking about physical photo albums that you hold in your hands and flip through slowly, pausing to point at specific pictures and recalling memories from them.

Remember that? You must.

Now, I’m sure a lot of you are probably already heading down to the comments section to say, “Oh silly Paul, I still put photos in photo albums!”

Alright, great. But I don’t think the majority of people do that anymore.

Their photo album exists on their phone. There is no elongated gaze at a variety of photos. There is a glance at one and then a flick of the finger to scroll to the next one.

Take a bad photo? No problem. Take another one. Heck, spend 20 minutes taking a one person photo shoot.

That is the era we live in.

There is no, “Hey, let’s ask this non-threatening-looking stranger to take a picture of us.”

There are long arms, selfie sticks, and crooked necks.

There is no, “I hope my grandparents – who have never used a camera before – know how to frame the photo properly. I guess we’ll find out when the photos are developed.”

There are prayers.

It’s a different world than it was fifteen years ago, heck even ten years ago. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’m just pointing it out.

Though a small part of me does miss photo albums. The way the order of each photo tells the story.

Sometimes I’ll flip through the photo albums from my childhood and I can see myself grow up. I can look at the time stamp on the photo and see how old I was.

I always thought my first memories started when I tripped over a hula-hoop on my first day of kindergarten – just a few days after my 4th birthday. I was wrong.

There are pictures of me doing things as a three-year-old that I’ve always had memories of but was never able to place when they occurred.

And sure, in the future people can look at the date on their phone to see when they took a photo but it doesn’t feel the same.

There’s a difference.

Every photo we take with our phone doesn’t feel that important. It’s not like we have a certain amount of film and have to pick and choose which moments are worth remembering.

Hey, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good we can take pictures of absolutely every second of every day. But are we taking photos of things we want to remember, or are we taking photos of things we didn’t catch with our own eyes the first time around?

I’ve been to so many sporting events in my life and ever since I’ve had a phone that’s able to take pictures, I always feel the need to take a photo of the arena or stadium. Multiple pictures. I don’t know why I do this.

Sure, part of the reason is to post a picture on social media, but after a while, how many times do I have to take the same exact photo I took the last ten times I attended a game?

I don’t use these photos for anything. They just sit on my phone until I muster up the courage to delete them, but I don’t because I’m secretly a mild hoarder.

We all have a profile picture here on WordPress. For most of us, it’s a picture of ourselves. But not just any picture. It’s a picture we like and deem suitable enough for others to see. We judge it before others do.

And then those photos sit there.

I’ve had the same profile picture on here for four years. I don’t look like that anymore. Then again, I’ve been told I look different in every photo I take so that photo was outdated about three days after I posted it.

It’s weird, though. I see people’s profile pictures – not just on here, but all over social media – and I imagine that person to be making that exact same pose at every single moment. It’s how I know them.

Oh, this person is smiling. That must be what they’re doing right now.

Oh, this person is dressed professionally. They are probably really busy right now.

Oh, this person is milking a cow. They must be in the middle of that right now.

And so on. I know, it makes no sense, but the profile picture I see is the person I picture in my head.

As bloggers, we know each other by our words and our picture and then formulate a conclusion on who that person is.

Just a heads up, my profile picture was taken moments before I went to go sweat at a wedding. So if you’re thinking I’m this very important person who wears a suit every day, I’m not.

I don’t think I’ve worn a suit since then. That was four years ago.

I know for a fact that suit no longer fits me. I’ve lost about 12 pounds since that photo. I’m not always clean shaven. My hair isn’t perfectly straight across my forehead anymore. I’m not sitting here with a charming fake smile.

My profile picture is not my current self.

But it’s a photo of me. So that’s good enough, right?

And this is where photos on social media can lie. They don’t always tell the whole truth. For every photo that is shared, there are probably twenty others sitting in the deleted folder on someone’s phone.

Photos have to be perfect, not necessarily real.

I flip through my old photo albums and the photos in them are real, but not necessarily perfect, even though we probably all said “cheese” at the same time.

That’s the difference.

If you’re curious, that is a current photo of me. I go the humour route with a lot my social media photos. It’s a niche not enough people are in right now because people aren’t as funny as they think.

I’m working on a new catchphrase: “I put the ‘funny’ in ‘pretty funny'”. Let me know what you think.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
This entry was posted in Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to Pictures of You, Pictures of Me

  1. Hilarious. Oh this made me think. When I was a kid, my dad would always be snapping pics and it would make me so angry. But now I snap lots of pics and when I ask myself why I’m doing it, I tell myself it’s so I can remember these moments of my lifeπŸ˜”And then I realized that’s what my dad was probably doing when I was a kid too. And now, he doesn’t take picsπŸ˜”But hey. I do. Guess it was time for us to switch roles 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  2. arlene says:

    Haha, you made me smile with this post. I take photos on my cam and tab and save them on my hard drive. I have some developed for framing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James says:

    I’m pretty anachronistic. I just went on holiday and I still took a camera with me, even though I’m pretty sure my phone takes better pictures. It’s a digital camera, not quite as limiting as the cameras of my youth, I do get instant feedback instead of having to wait for the film to be developed, but it always means I do something with the photos – like putting them in an album, which I’d never do with my phone. Had a bit of a dilemma this time though cos the camera got wet in a particularly rainy day and stopped working. My phone subbed for the last day of the trip and the photos were fine, more than fine, but I wondered wether I should bother getting a new camera if the old one didn’t recover. Fortunately it did and I can carry on being old fashioned for a little while longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      First off, I’d like to thank you for raising the level of vocabulary in my comments section with your use of “anachronistic”. I like that you still have a digital camera and develop photos from it. I wish I were that disciplined. I took my digital camera on a trip 3 years ago. It worked well, but all I did afterwards was upload the pictures to my computer and now they sit in a folder that I don’t open. Do carry on with your “old fashioned” way of photo taking. Keep it alive.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The pretty funny closing comment does it for me. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I kinda feel guilty now! Haha!! I too, was attending a wedding well I was walking a wedding and had JUST gotten my hair and makeup professionally done so OFCOURSE I would use this as a profile picture! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ I am an old soul. And this is hysterical because this past weekend, I decided to get a DIGITAL CAMERA for my 32 birthday- you know like one with REAL megapixels… with the full intent of filling albums up and hoarding them in my living room like magazines for people to look through. I am a huge fan of this concept. And though we are in the smartphone era- I still ONLY read REAL books and hoard them on shelves just for the sake of looking at them. And I still write in journals. And hoard those too. I never want my children to bump into these amazing things and say WHAT IS THATTTT?! Like they did the first time they saw a type writer (which I owned) until recently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Guilty for what? If anything, you can now get at least 4 years of longevity out of your current profile pic. Probably longer! A digital camera as a birthday present! The kids these days don’t even know what that is haha. I’m the same way with books. I didn’t even know what a Kindle was until last year – I thought it was some sort of chocolate or fire burning “thing”. I learned how to type on a type writer! I liked the ding it made when I got to the end of a line. Very engaging. (By the way, I feel like my previous blog post will make you laugh. Sorry for this shameless plug).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tiny Rubies says:

    “Photos have to perfect, not necessarily real. I flip through my old photo albums and the photos in them are real, but not necessarily perfect…”


    I’ve struggled for ages to try and work out a good system for managing my photos – I’ve tried printing (never get round to it), limiting how many I take (mild success with this), Instagram, Google Photos… I still end up with hundreds of needless photos and many good ones that I never look at. It’s so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It’s hard. Like if we see something that looks cool, we have an urge to take a picture of it. Or at least I do. Then I go back through the photos in my phone a few days later and wonder why I took a photo of certain things in the first place. It’s hard to manage when we don’t know what to do with the photos we take.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Disappointed to hear you don’t wear a suit every day, I feel like my image of you has been destroyed. No but seriously, my profile picture is from probably over 2 years ago when I used to go out drinking every weekend and had to wear my contacts so my glasses weren’t taken off my face by drunken strangers. Nowadays, I rarely wear makeup, alwaaaays wear my glasses, and can think of so many better ways to spend my weekend. Think I’m honestly just too lazy to find an up to date photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha so it’s basically like we don’t even know each other. After this whole time!? Lol amazing. I totally relate to that though – I’m way too lazy to upload a new photo. I don’t even know that I have one. A quick scroll through Instagram and nothing stands out as respectable enough. Oh well!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Magic Lemon says:

    My friend doesn’t like to take photos, so when I asked her to show a picture of she and her boyfriend, she doesn’t have any. I asked her why and she said they just don’t like or don’t take pictures and she’d rather cherish the moment. So I told her what if in the future your children wants to see old photos and you don’t have anything to show them. Although she has a point that we should live in the moment but it’s also good that we take photos that we can look back at in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved this, I always tell my friends that it was a curse and a blessing that we grew up before cellphone cameras and such. I know due to a lot of what my friends and I did I am thankful that there is no photo evidence of it. The only photos we have are in our heads.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Squid says:

    Super duper true. I wanted to make that longer but I couldn’t figure out any more rhymes… Sorry.
    My dad has a gazillion pictures of me and my sister when we were little on his computer from his first digital camera, a little Kodak about the size of a computer mouse. He rarely deleted any, even the blurry ones, because they tell a story. “This is the one in which I dropped the camera because you were about to jump over the banister” or something like that.
    I have a pet peeve with people saying that they don’t look good in pictures (maybe they just don’t look good in real life?? Shhhhhh) because I used to say it a lot. We all have that one feature, expression, or angle of/on ourselves that we hate. When we see it in a picture, it automatically ruins it for us. But, SO WHAT? Everyone else sees it in our everyday interactions with them, but they don’t care; they still like us. It doesn’t define us, and we shouldn’t let it ruin the pictures we take. I think I’m going to write a post about this, so, be prepared. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Super duper storm trooper pooper scooper?
      Haha you were trying to jump over the banister? I was smarter than that. I ran right into it and chipped a tooth!
      I also don’t like when people say they don’t look good in photos. Sometimes it’s true. Maybe they blinked at the wrong time or something. But most of the time they look completely normal yet still say they don’t like how they look.
      Looking forward to your post!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rebbit7 says:

    Like you, I’ve been thinking about the concept of photos in the digital age. I’m like you in that I grew up experiencing both physical and virtual photo albums. It’s interesting, because when it comes to writing about my travels, I’m unable to supply images for half of them (I’m talking pre-2007 era) since they weren’t digitally uploaded. Very strange to believe that many of the children born today won’t experience the “old-school” way of taking photos to be put into an actual photo album.

    Final thought: my Gravatar on WordPress is probably the most-recent photo of myself. Before I changed it, I had one of myself from 5 years ago. While I don’t think I’ve changed that much, I suppose it helps to change it up from time to time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Many children are going to look back on our generation’s way of doing things in the 90s and early 2000s and wonder what we were thinking.

      Yeah, I think I’m just too lazy to find and upload a new picture for myself. I mean maybe I was overreacting when I said I don’t look like that anymore. I do. It just feels like I don’t since it was 4 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. heymeghan91 says:

    This week on the Bachelor……

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Steinunn says:

    I so agree!! I love photo albums. I think I’m gonna go buy a photo album this weekend and go over my pictures in my phone and get them developed ❀ Thanks for this.
    And just fyi, my profile picture: I think I took 1 before this one and that's what I look like most of the time πŸ™‚ I smile a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve recently been thinking about buying a bunch of those old disposable cameras (do they still sell those?) and only taking photos like that for a bit. I miss the anticipation and excitement of waiting to see the prints! Physical photos have come up a lot for me in the last month or so… it must be a sign. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oh man, disposable cameras! I almost forgot about those. They must still sell them somewhere. Sounds like you’re destined to develop some photos sometime soon.


      • Rea says:

        Y’all, you can still find Polaroid cameras. I saw one behind the counter at Michael’s. I really want one so I can just travel back in time to when I got my picture taken in Cubbies (AWANA) at like, age 3. I’m just about heart broken because I can’t find find that picture.
        Now, as for disposable cameras, you can find them at CVS, Wallgreens, and probably at any other drug store.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Barb Knowles says:

    So much to write about here. I laughed at McDonald’s and then really laughed at 2 pictures = 2000 words. Then there was so much not funny. Last night I went through photo albums of when my son was baby/toddler/high school and took pics with my iPhone of almost every one and sent them to his girlfriend. I miss photo albums too. But not enough to have all of my photos on my phone printed out.
    As to your profile pic comment, I think about profile pics here on WordPress in general. On other social media we can change our profile pic all the time. Everyone knows it’s still us. On WordPress though, people associate our blog with our photo. I changed mine from a duck (no brainer) to a version of me with a cool filter that’s a couple of years old. And I don’t look like that anymore. When I had to give a photo to WordPress I submitted a really good pic from the fall. Now my hair is long again. So do we keep old profile pics up so people recognize our blog? You should take a poll with that question.
    I laughed out loud with your image that we all look like our profile pics no matter what we’re doing. If so, then I live in a filtered world.
    Great post. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      There’s a very real chance that the reason I think I miss photo albums is because I’ve looked through the same 2-3 my whole life and wish there were more to look through lol.
      I definitely think our pics are used to identify us on here. I know I have to do a double take if someone changes their pictures. I recognize that more than some blog names.
      And yes, to me, you’re always in a filtered world lolol

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Nicole says:

    Haha! I’m dressed nice in my profile picture too. But unless it is required for me to dress up I’ll always choose track shorts and a t shirt. Maybe I should take a new picture like that for my WordPress profile.
    I have a camera that prints Polaroids, and I love using it. It gives all the pictures a nostalgic, more authentic feel than the ones that I take with my phone.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. onebigstressball says:

    Totally get you on the mild hoarder thing ha!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Angela says:

    Yeah i was at a wedding in my profile picture too! I am most likely in real life wearing office attire, workout gear or pyjamas my hair is 12inches shorter and not brown but bottle blonde…maybe it’s time I changed it!!
    I miss looking at old, real, perfectly imperfect photos. I hate that the thousands of photos in my phone and laptop never get printed off and usually end up lost in cyber space my memories gone with them!! It’s like ‘video killed the radio star’ but more ‘digital cameras killed my memories’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      You’re a fraud just like me! Imagine if we all just had a picture of ourselves in workout clothes or pyjamas? The world would be so much happier haha. Yeah, all these photos we take because we “have to” capture a moment, and then those moments sit on our phones and cameras and don’t go anywhere. It’s kinda sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Madmadworld says:

    Damn, I love the way you write. I recently went to visit my Gran who has photo albums of everyone. All labelled with her Grandkids names on them. I promptly pulled out my phone and took pictures of those pictures. I somehow feel like I am a more tactile individual now. I csn almost remember feeling those photos as I was trying to line up my phone to not cut off anyones head…on another note…I always found the challenge of not cutting off someone’s head in a photo to be a prideful thing when it was successfully executed. Sometimes I think our phones just don’t allow us some of the simple pleasures we used to have…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! Oh yeah, it really was a talent to not cut off someone’s head in a photo, or to make sure they were centred. That art is lost now with phones. Everything is so simplified these days, but with simplicity comes a lack of enjoyment.


  20. Hi Captain! While I believe that our photos nowadays taken using our iphones and android mobile phone may have their own memories to remember of, I completely agree with you that those old photos in our albums are indeed invaluable and their stories are not just ordinary tales but a changing-life ones and worth remembering… thank you for this article..

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Rea says:

    There is something almost ironic about a “phone-photo obsessed age” being a time where there are a lot of people taking pictures with really nice cameras. I have multiple friends who LOVE to take photos and one even shares them on her blog sometimes. Her blog is

    Liked by 1 person

  22. L.E. Hunt says:

    I do that too–“why the heck is this person angry on Facebook, their profile pic is smiling” XD I enjoyed reading this πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Himali Shah says:

    Haha.. I like the picture of you with the white flower. I still have snaps of my childhood taken by my parents and they are a treasure

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Myka says:

    Now, I’m sure a lot of you are probably already heading down to the comments section to say, β€œOh silly Paul, I still put photos in photo albums!”
    GUILTY, Lol. You know me (and everyone else?) so well.
    I completely agree with you about the photos. I think we take photos of everything, not just the things we want to remember. I like my Polaroid because you only get one shot, or one opportunity…. anyway. Good post, once again.
    Your writing makes me want to write. But the block is still kind of there.
    I “miss” you – if I can say that about someone I’ve never “met”.
    PS. I’m kind of disappointed you aren’t always standing in a suit fake smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Ha of course you have a photo album. We do take photos of everything. My recent instagram photos are proof of that lol. Did you just make an Eminem reference with “one shot, one opportunity” or was that an accident?
      Wait, if I’m not in a suit and fake smile all the time, does that mean you’re head isn’t at an 80 degree angle all day? Say. It. Ain’t. So!


  25. Sophia Ball says:

    Great thoughts! The way we take photos has changed, and not necessarily for the better. I think the slant towards perfection in our photos is harmful, personally.

    PS – this must mean to you I have a dragon on my hat right now, huh? That’s kind of awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I think the tide will slowly turn and people are slowly going to start turning away from Instagram as a result of that.

      And yes, absolutely a dragon on your hat right this very second.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sophia Ball says:

        I think it’s more likely the platform or the artform will evolve than revert. Into what though, I don’t know. But people are already posting intentionally ‘not-perfect’ but reality-based photos.

        PS – that suit must be SO uncomfortable to sleep in. My thoughts are with you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Finally someone understands how tough it is to be in a suit all day! Rolling over in the middle of the night is the worst.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophia Ball says:

        I can only imagine. The jacket getting stuck under you, the tie giving life to mild strangulation dreams all night long. And I assume that wearing your dress shoes in bed is super annoying – but who wears a suit with no shoes? Psychopaths, that’s who.

        (PS – sorry for the delay – my notifications didn’t give me your response until now! They’ve been acting up for awhile…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Sometimes I forget to unbutton the jacket before I roll over, and oh man, I could heard the threads starting to snap. Dress shoes in bed is a must. The occasion calls for it.

        (No worries on the delay!)


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