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Sunday, December 06, 2015

Family Photo Rejects

Squint, Squint

Thanksgiving is past and it is time to send out the annual Holiday card with the family photo on it.  This is a stressful process.  Getting a decent family photo is just one step in the process.  You also have to get the cards printed, addressed, written, and mailed off before Christmas.  I will freely admit that most of the latter is up to Zoya.  My job is getting a decent family photo.

And for some reason this year I totally failed.  We had numerous opportunities in gorgeous places, but something is wrong with every photo.  In the end Zoya had to create a 'composite' Christmas card - one of those cards with multiple family activity pictures.

Seeking out this year's family photo got me thinking back to simpler days.  Back to the days when I printed out the card myself on heavy paper from the home printer.  I'd put 2 pictures side by side so that I could get 2 cards per sheet.  I always left half the page blank and measured it so that it would fold into a card correctly.  I remember the hard part was printing the 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Holidays' on the inside.  You had to put the paper thru the printer a second time for this with the proper orientation. Almost inevitably the 'Happy Holidays' would be printed on top of the photos (put in tray upside down) or upside down to the fold (wrong direction in tray).

In those days it was simpler to find a photo.  Pre Zoya I was only mailing cards to my guy friends, maybe 15 tops, and only cared about showing them what I was up to - I also always wanted to make it funny and to shock a bit.  So the cards tended to portray dead things.  I remember I titled the card that went with the bottom photo something like 'Santa's going to have a hard time finding someone to pull his sled - Merry Christmas'.

Post Zoya there was a change to the more traditional card photo.  Also Zoya wanted the cards to be more inclusive; so instead of 'Merry Christmas' we went to 'Happy Holidays'.  Zoya also took over the mailing and writing aspects. Still with only 2 of us and a dog, taking the happy family photo was not all that difficult - although since it was the pre digital era we did have to send the pictures off to get them developed and then scan them to print.

With kids things got much more difficult.  More people and animals in the photo made it harder to catch everyone looking good and with their eyes open.  I think this is the reason we stopped trying to include the dogs in the photo.  One year we took the photo with a tripod and in the best picture my eyes were closed.  I fixed it by taking my head with eyes open from one of the other pictures and then stitching it over the eyes closed image (see bottom photo).  I remember that getting the background to align was the most difficult part of the process.

Happy Holidays!


No we don't own a plane

Boring, grainy and washed out - same card as last year anyway

Pre Zoya Christmas Card - for real

Post Zoya Christmas Card - our first one together

2008 family photo - we went out in the new snow to capture the 'White Christmas' feeling

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