Friday, March 5, 2010

An Anthropologist's Notes on the American Woman or: Life Ongoing

On a recent journey I noticed an interesting phenomenon.  One that I admit I am guilty of perpetuating.
My dear friends and I were traveling to Auburn Alabama to celebrate a birthday and share a day with Barbara in her beautiful bead studio, Perch.  
These are moments we would want to remember, yet something happened when I tried to record them with my innocent little camera.

If my social scientist self were actually an anthropologist, my notepad might look something like this:
"Notes on the 40 Something American Woman.  
Of particular interest is the way she flutters and scurries when a camera is pointed in her direction.  
 What about this mammal makes her fear the lens being turned on her?  
Hypothesis: fear of not liking what the image portrays.
No.  That's not it.
Surely the subject recognizes the beauty in the story of her face and figure.  
Children were borne, laughter shared, challenges shouldered, faith gained, souls understood.
Loss and joy.  Love and pain.

Note:  wrinkles and curves are signs of life ongoing.
The subject must be aware that a digital image can not tell the real truth of that life."
Sometimes, when forced reluctantly to pose, or when we are not aware, the camera will capture a moment.
But how can a digital image really portray our experience?
The best it can ever do is spark a memory of a feeling we shared.
(me, Barbara, Valerie, Laura, Cathleen and Susan in front of Perch)
(just so my friends don't think  I threw them under the bus alone, I share my best Wonder Woman pose)

A final note, jotted in the side margin of my anthropologist notepad:
"future study subject: dressing room to observe the 40 Something American Woman trying on bathing suits.
Important: DO NOT take camera."

1 comment:

Laura said...

camera adds...what is it?...75 pounds?? sounds about right! (just so you know we are teaching anger management tonight in the parenting class and i am having to work thru several of the steps as i reflect on the fact that you have posted pictures of me...yipes!)