Photography From the Outside

“ Photos are our autobiography away of telling who we are.” -Jan Phillips


As I am approaching the anniversary of beginning my blog, I asked my daughter to guest blog about what photography means to a young non-photographer.



"Guys, we should take a picture today so my mom doesn’t fuss at me.”

This is how I meekly propose that my friends and I stop to take a quick selfie. I don’t want to be a burden, so I try not to be theatrical—just a quick tap of the phone mid-walk, then we’re on our way. But the photo isn’t really just for my mom, it’s also for myself. For when I need a laugh, for when I’m feeling lonely during a break, for when I want to illustrate a funny story, for when I just want to look back and remember the good times that punctuated long hours of classes, homework, and exams. 


Growing up, I never liked to have my photo taken. It was too much attention being placed upon me, too much of a struggle to strike the perfect pose so that I wouldn’t have to cringe every time I walked past the picture on the countertop. But as I went through high school, gained and lost friends, and experienced some rough times, I realized that even the most horrendous five-second snapshot is a valuable moment captured. Who could have guessed that the photo I almost refused to take at my freshman Relay would be one of the few I’d ever have of me and one of my best friends? I used to hate it—curly roots are peeking through my straightened hair, my face is virtually makeup-free, and the angle of my body is less than flattering. But now, I cherish that photo for what it is: friendship, laughter, silliness, and bonding frozen in time.


Now that I’m in college and doing a lot of new things, I try not to think too hard about taking photos. I may not look perfect, but at least I can remember the laughs my friends and I shared as we took a much needed study break, the excitement we felt before seeing Gloria Steinem talk, the fun we had playing in the first snow of winter with our classmates, the music we danced to at that weird outdoor concert, the awesome discussions we had during our end-of-the-year tea party. Our lives are worth capturing and remembering, and I know I want to remember these moments and these people years down the line. I’ve finally come to appreciate how valuable photography is in doing just that. 

- TH