I can’t believe I’m posting a photo of myself on my blog. I don’t think that’s something I’ve ever done before. At least it’s not a selfie, right? In fact, this photo is the furthest thing from a selfie—it’s a photo taken when I was completely unawares, which is probably why I like it so much. In fact, it was taken by a complete stranger, someone I blithely gave my address to because they came up to me and said, “Hey, I just took a couple pictures of you and I’d like to send them to you.” As the song says, those were the days. Fortunately, they turned out not to be a creeper, and the photos actually showed up in the mail a few months later. I wish I had a way to thank the kind person who sent them!
Photo short facts:
- I was in high school—probably a senior, but maybe a junior
- I was at the Renaissance Faire in Ventura, CA
- I was picking out flowers to decorate a straw hat
- I still have that blouse and skirt; I think I still have the bodice but it definitely doesn’t fit me any longer; the hat fell apart ages ago
- Bangs in my eyes was my signature look when I was teen
Aside from the bloom of youth that these photos capture, one reason it is special to me is because I don’t think I have any other pictures of me in faire garb, even though I attended faires pretty regularly from the mid-80s on, until the early Naughts.1 Cameras and photos just weren’t a part of the experience back then—something that’s hard to imagine these days, when we’re never not with a camera in hand, thanks to technology. It was pretty nice, really. Imagine being fully immersed in the experience—focused just on picking out flowers, for example, not trying to decide out what would make a great photo for your Instagram feed.
I don’t want to turn this into a polemic against Instagram. I love being able to take pictures whenever I want, and having a place to share them, too.
But it’s hard to capture this kind of blissful unselfconsciousness anymore. Everyone is too busy smiling for the camera.