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Picture This

A picture speaks volumes yet says so little! It captures a brief moment in time and seals it like a painted canvas for eternity. Portraits, profile pictures or a plain candid shot stops time while setting it in motion. Yet it does not always accurately portray who we are, how we feel or what we are experiencing. My own love for photography came from a father who understood the necessity of capturing the moments and preserving them as mementos. Like him, I take pictures to celebrate and capture the moments, (those instances all too fleeting) and share in settings with the hope of pleasing.

The reality is that a picture reveals but says very little about what is really happening in the mind, heart or life of the subject – the person being captured in a moment of time. The current wave of social media interaction makes it possible for people to play the leading role in their own play or the hero or heroine in the stories of life. Technology has now made it feasible and convenient to take pictures and post to various sites immediately. However, it still does not convey or reveal WHO or WHAT we really are and HOW we are living or what we are feeling.

Beautiful smiles and swag looks often camouflage the real deal – the real person, the pain, the pressure, the hidden agendas, the inner struggle, the sin which so easily beset us. Profile pictures and professional portraits do not reveal the complex complicated characteristics that we all have to deal with within ourselves. In the same way we don’t get to see what is really happening behind someone’s smile or smirk; others don’t really know who we are or what we are made of (good and bad). People don’t get to see the fears we mask with facades or the insecurities we cover up with elaborately eloquent stories of our accomplishments.

Pictures are one dimensional – taking a moment in time and parading it for show. To discover the real person captured within the frame requires work – tender, thoughtful, time consuming work. That stunning subject could be teenager rocking the trendiest look, or the most dazzling diva that requires a second look. But the truth is that picture does not speak clearly about what is being seen. If one is interested, intrigued or inclined to find out about that person, the discovery requires TIME. We all have different backgrounds, upbringing and ways of viewing the world, so we should never use a person’s picture to determine who they are, what they are made of, or what they are going through. If you care about someone (family or friend) or become intrigued by the subject in the picture then make TIME to get to know that person. Assumptions and preconceived notions or quick judgments will only set you up for misunderstanding as you misconstrue one thing after another. Look beneath the surface with caring considerate curious eyes and SEE what lies beneath. Don’t you dare think so little of a person that you forget they have a LIFE (past, present and a future) which is bigger than any picture could portray. Don’t you dare judge a person by their picture because it belittles who they are and what they have been through to get to this moment. In the same token, don’t ever make the mistake to think someone is God’s perfect masterpiece in the human race because we are all mere flesh, made from the dust of the earth and we shall all return to dust. Do not view a picture and decide that you can surmise WHO this person is and WHAT they are made of.

I change my profile pictures depending on my mood, feeling or desire to acknowledge an event or recall a moment. However this should in no way be used as a means to determine where I am in my mind, attitude or heart at a given time. Pictures serve their purpose as they reveal quite a bit about a person’s personal preferences, but they do not speak authentically about who we are as unique individuals, with our own set of principles, problems or pain. Take it at face value and choose to place a higher value on the person (by honoring their presence in your life or in the world) and by treating with utmost respect. More than anything use a picture to prompt a prayer, a praise, a reason to pause and reflect, being fully aware that pictures can lie and it is very possible that the subject you behold is at the end of their road. Whether you are strolling down memory lane reminiscing on pictures of the past, or you are being gratified by the various profiles pictures proudly displayed on various social networks, always remember that these subjects are more than mere objects which represent the various facets of life. Appreciate the picture while you affirm the person in pure thought, profound words, and pleasing actions.

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