Tuesday, 07 May, 2013 13:20
Fourteen years ago today, it seems hard to believe, I donned an unseasonable halter-neck dress and sat uncharacteristically still with my mouth shut while I had my makeup done. If it was cold I had no idea for I was high as a kite on the anticipation of formalising my already six years-long commitment to the kindest, gentlest, funniest… er, and tallest… man I have still ever met. Hands down. I figure, anyone who has put up with me all this time has got to be a freak of nature. And he’s, like, rool intelligent too. I sure hit the jackpot. And I commend my 17 year-old former self for seeing what she did in that lanky, dorky teenage boy all that time ago in 1992.
To commemorate the momentous occasion of our 20th year of committed bliss (there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard it), I am going to make you endure a slideshow of honeymoon (and a few other) photos. But don’t go! It’s a slideshow with a difference. Let me explain….
I thought the first half dozen years before we got married, of taking stupid selfies (the sharpness of which were reliant on the distance Steve could get the camera from our faces) before selfies even became a “thing” on the internet… and actually, before the internet even became a thing, would continue.
But in putting together some photos for this post today, I went through our entire digital collection that started in 1997 and am ashamed to say that there are hardly any photos of us in them. Together. It appears evident that we have been hopelessly remiss in taking photos with both of us in them – the couple-selfie, if you will. Therefore, the sum total of our on-camera “togetherness” in these past twenty years is thus:
Hello, young people? 1994 called. It wants its long hair back. All of it.
In '99, we scrubbed up ok
Ok so far, right? Well, here is where it starts to go pear-shaped… We went to Europe for two months for our honeymoon. You’d think we would get some pretty awesome romantic couple-y shots on our honeymoon, yes? Yes. You would. We may well be the only people who have been to Paris, on their honeymoon no less, and didn’t think to get our photo taken in front of the Eiffel Tower. On a spot of ground that has been worn bare by millions who have come from around the world to do exactly that.
Is that an incredibly tall romantic erection? Or are you just happy to see me?
Wait! I think I see in this next shot… oh. No. It’s not us. It’s just me. And him. Alone. But if you look closely, you might even see Lady Grantham.
At the Colosseum. Looking suitably impressed by the authentic 72AD construction fencing.
Steve. Dwarfed by an abbey. I forget its name. Let's just call it Downton.
Lots of beautiful Austrian, Swiss, Italian sunsets. We’re not in a one of ‘em.
Somewhere in or around Innsbruck. Can't be sure. Schnapps was involved.
It was around this time that I (somewhat awkwardly) became fixated with photographing old men around England.
I won’t even bore you with them all, suffice to say there are more of them than there are shots of my newlywed and me together. Such as…:
A car being driven by a … bowling ball? With ears? Come ON, it's adorable!
But sometimes, those kind old gentlemen took the camera from us and made us pose. Like this one bloke in York. We think he offered to take our photo. Perhaps he actually wanted to steal the camera. Well, we posed anyway. Who knew when we’d get another chance to have a photo taken together while we were still young and at our wedding weight? We thought he was trying to tell us he was travelling too. We weren’t sure. His accent was so strong we couldn’t even be certain he was speaking English. Until I managed to translate that he was visiting from Newcastle. Our first (of several) encounter with an unrecognisable English dialect in their own country. Just… wow.
'Did you understand what he said?' 'No. Not sure he's even speaking English. Or wanting to take our photo. Just smile, ok?'
As an aside, let me veer you over to this photo that I just had to take. To remind me that THIS was why I vowed from that day never to eat meat again. Unfortunately, due to anaemia contraints that crop up each year or two, I have had to phase back in some of the white meat. Still, red meat has been off the menu ever since I discovered they bend down on their knees to eat (I wondered for weeks touring around Britain why all the sheep had dirty front knees). Gorgeous little things.
- The pose that single-handedly turned me into a vegetarian. On the spot.
But I digress. Look! An accidental selfie!
Somewhere in Wales. Baffled while listening to some more indecipherable English on the radio. Because it was actually Welsh. D'oh.
Okay, so that’s about it. The sum total of our couple-photos from our honeymoon. Underwhelming, right?
Well, what if I told you we inadvertently continued trying for that elusive well-posed, non-duck-mouth, in-focus, flattering couple-selfie? The following are, in order, the only photos of the two of us in our collection between the years 2002 to 2013. Abysmal. But in its own way, a really poignant snapshot (in fast-forward) of our lives over the next few years.
Our second wedding anniversary, somewhere on a Fremantle Beach
There *may* have been quite a bit of alcohol involved in this one, for I felt far less in-focus than I appear – Diabetes Ball, 2002
With baby Ellanor on board, she would be born just three weeks later, forever changing the nature of all our future photos – Christmas, 2003
The very next photo of us was by her side
I posted the link recently to the very first photo of me after Ella died. There was, obviously, a pause on all photos and not just the couple selfies.
By September that same year, I wanted to capture how I felt, alone every day without our daughter. So one day in the fading September sunlight, I took my very first own “selfie”:
September 2005 – gazing at the sunset and marvelling how stunningly beautiful and clear everything looked "nowadays". Death is beauty. Losing my child helped me to honour my own life, not just hers.
- He’s getting the hang of cutting off his face if it has to be that close to the camera – Sep. 2005
This time with a little Lolly on board and hoping she'd stay, remembering Ella's 2nd birthday at the place where we held her memorial – Jan. 2006
Get yer hand off it, Daryl – on the eve of Lolly's birth, July 2006
And then all of a sudden, there she was. The child who would capture and captivate us so that the dwindling couple-selfie would become all but obsolete. We were now a tri-selfie… And it would remain that way until Lolly was old enough to master the camera herself and start taking photos of us. With some considerable practice. We’re actually still waiting for a shot with all of both our heads in frame… But it’s sure fun trying.
Our first proper photo of the three of us, 8 months later… What? So we got distracted easily!
Teaching the art of the hand-held selfie. We still had a ways to go. Because *somebody* didn't quite get it.
A fluke great "tri-selfie" that went out on our first Christmas card as a family
Finally opting for the timer photo, what does he do? Hams up the shot. Daddy… frowny face.
But then, progress! Finally we had a little photographer. Now, maybe, just maybe, we would get a decent photo of the two of us…. Maybe.
Her very own first selfie! With the DSLR, no less! Perfect! She'll be great at this photo-taking thing.
Our family. So proud.
So there you have it. You’re free to go. “Slideshow” over.
Suffice to say, we’ve never quite mastered it. But who cares? We’ve got enough headless, half faced, dopey-eyed shots that kind of show where we were and what we were doing. Not to mention I’m living with two ham-artistes. Lolly and Steve can barely keep their faces straight at the best of times, let alone for a serious group pose. One of them is always doing something slapstick. I am thankfully outnumbered.
Case in point: Like the time I attempted to get an unposed photo of our daughter…
Yeh, thanks. Thanks a lot for that, Steve. Withered sigh.
Sometimes, it’s in the doing and not in the taking. And Steve and I both know, despite the lack of proof that we were both here, we’ve both remained present. The fact that our child has been front and centre in our relationship is a small and willing sacrifice of our “us time”. We have come to agree that seven years out of all 20 (and counting, blessedly) is more than we could ever dared hope for.