Monday, June 2, 2014

Note to Self-ie

We talk a lot about selfies these days, and how having so much emphasis on how we look is detrimental, especially to young girls. I agree, but I must admit it's fun to turn on my phone and discover funny selfies Margaret has taken, which I DARE NOT post here. She's 12. I'm learning, learning, learning.

I was thinking back to my middle school and high school years-- you know in the days before a "tween" was a thing-- and even though we didn't have the means to take many pictures, we still managed to capture the ugh and angst of those years pretty well.

For us it began in the photo booth.

Not the cute, 5 in a row black and white photos so popular at weddings and bat mitzvahs these days. It was a Polaroid booth inside Woolworths at the mall. As in, "Have your mom drop you off and meet me at the photo booth!" You would squeeze in with one, maybe 2 of your best friends of the week, hold really still, and hope that your fluffy, center-parted hair would make it in to the picture, but the zit on your chin would not.



When we made it to high school, the Polaroid booth morphed into our own cameras, usually of the lousy Disc variety-- a short-lived experiment by Kodak that made everything look grainy, as if it were taken through cheesecloth or a window screen, long before Instagram would introduce a generation to cool filter effects.


The REALLY, REALLY good news: "sharing" our photos mean ordering doubles. At worst, one or two people would have access to a bad or embarrassing photo. A shoe box under the bed or a sticky "magnetic album" provided a level of privacy that is a foreign concept to us today. Worst case scenario was that you might wear a jaunty Liz Claiborne felt hat to school in 8th grade and it would make its way into the yearbook.  Not that I'd know anything about that.

Maybe you passed around your summer beach pics in the cafeteria once school started, showing off your baby oil tan. I'm still peeved that an ex boyfriend kept my little plastic keychain photo from Ocean City, the kind you'd look through to see the photo illuminated at the end, because now there is no proof that I ever looked decent in a bikini, even if it was for 45 fleeting seconds in 1987.

Even though my best friend Lisa and I couldn't snap with abandon like kids do these days, because we had to buy our film and pay for developing, we spent quite a few date-less Friday nights taking pictures of each other. We came up with themes and went around  my house looking for clothes that would complement what we consider to be out "artsy" tableaux.

Note the wild and rugged theme here:




I wonder if Lisa still has her banana clip. I have mine.

Or check out the romantic theme here. A teddy bear and pearls really set the stage for romance, don't you think? Gosh, I loved that haircut!


Not sure where I'm going with this trip down memory lane, but I thank The Good Lord that I was born when I was. I think girls have always wanted to pose for the camera and document good times with friends; I'm just glad I'm posting these as a 40-something who can look back on those exhilarating, hard, weird times with a smile rather than (too much of) a cringe.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

ACW~

Great pictures! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

~Calvin

PS The moped was maroon

Elaine Alguire said...

I'm just a bit curious... were you girls going hunting after?? ;)

I miss the old school photo booth. Although they are still around. Thanks for sharing these... I like looking back.

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

OMG! "Calvin" That is the best comment ever! It took me a moment. I was just telling my daughter about cheesecake and cokes at Neighbors! :)

Mary said...

Oh my goodness! My best friend and i also spent dateless Friday nights coming up with around-the-house photos just like yours. Well, we didn't have access to awesome camo shirts and deer heads, but close enough. Thank you for the laugh!

tracy@sellabitmum said...

I'm just going to throw out this as an idea...banana clipped hair selfies at the next blog conference?

Gigi said...

I loved your trip down memory lane. Those black, plastic, rubber bracelets! I'd almost forgotten about those!

marlu said...

It's so much fun to see these "old" photos. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Marshall said...

LOVE this post, Anna!! Your hair in the last photo is awesome!

My friends and I used to have our parents drop us off at Hersheypark when we were in middle school and we'd take photo booth pictures! Those were the days. :)

Alison said...

I love these photos, Anna!
My sister and I used to go around our house, snapping pictures of each other. :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Love the pictures! I remember the photo shoots and then the painful wait at one-hour photo developing (and those dark moments when you find out that your friend had her finger over the shutter the WHOLE TIME).

Lisa Ancona-Roach said...

Yes...there was a lot more "photographic grace" back then, wasn't there? Now everything is ready to haunt you forever! I, too, am glad I lived "back then." I often look at the girls and young women today--dressed similarly, hair identical--and think, Boy, I never would have made it these days!

Katie said...

these are by far the best selfies I've seen on the internet in quite sometime! :)

Kelly Pack said...

Oh how I totally did the same thing with my friends! Loved this post! I'm going to catch up on your blog today.

Princess Kate said...

I have like all those same pictures (minus the hunter's theme not sure where you were going with that one).

Reminded me of some great moments at the Woolworths at Tysons. Spent a lot of time in that booth with friends. Thanks for sharing. Still thinking and praying for all of you.

Lady Jennie said...

Oh my gosh. Those memories that were successfully buried (mostly) are all coming back!!!!

Rach said...

The bangs! Didn't we all have that hair? Oh I loved these, Anna!

And, yes, I think it was much much easier to be a tween and teen girl then than now. I too thank the Lord that my past photos aren't lingering in the vastness of the internet waiting to pop up and bite me on the hiney.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Anna, you are lovely! And I agree about the photo/timing of life but I recently took a class from a lovely lady and I have to share her message. I'm awful about jumping in front of the camera, she has really helped me. Check out her point of view about taking pics, it may come in handy as you're raising a young lady in today's world! http://www.viviennemcmasterphotography.com/blog/

Don Balboa said...

Glad to have found your site. Keep up the good work! DB Product Review

Kathy at kissing the frog said...

You were and are gorgeous! These pictures would have made a great addition to our retro prom. Had a blast meeting you this weekend. xo

Andrea Mowery said...

The outdoorsy pics are priceless! You were really ahead of your time. :)

Esther said...

Wow, you were a darling teenager. I love the dimples.