What do you see?

I have been noticing all the judgement out there because of photographs. Some are of toddlers eating a cookie, others are of someone posing arms outstretched, smiling on their holiday. Photos can tell so much, but sometimes the story is concealed. I have been dismayed by those judged and blasted on social media because of a photo. The cookie was controversial; another photo was blasted because someone you don’t get along with was in the picture. The list goes on. I have only had one set of photos done professionally, when my daughter was 18 months of age. They tell a story but not in its entirety. They don’t tell of the events leading up to them being taken, nor of  how sick I would get shortly afterward.

In the following pictures, I look polished. I wonder what they speak of? Let me take you behind the scene. I had lost one of my best friend’s, and limped into the new year. I was planning on home schooling my daughter and wondered if I could do it. I felt like rubbish. Deflated and plunging into depression. I hadn’t had my hair done at a hairdresser’s in a very long time. On the eve of the new school year, I ventured into a salon on a whim. Yes, they could fit me in. I asked for my long splintered hair to be shorn, and colour to be put through. “Do you want a quote before we start?” I was asked. I thought, ‘gee, if I need a quote, this is gonna be expensive!’ “That would be lovely,” I smiled. $270 was the quote! I opted to just have my hair shorn, and purchase a bottle of $6 violet dye afterward. I had just heard that a dear friend had been diagnosed with cancer, and another with a compromised liver. As the locks fell, I felt myself come out of my melancholic cocoon. I had to be strong for them, for myself, my daughter and our new venture. When I was done, I was delighted. I felt free of memories, pain and 2014… I knew I would never be able to replicate the blow dry I received in the salon, and so I took a series of pics with my phone. There was no posing, no professional photography. Just me. A facet of who I am. So, next time you see the holiday pics, the pictures on a blog, or on the web, remember that all is not as it seems. There is more than one facet to a diamond. So it is with people. I bet that toddler doesn’t eat cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and did you know that the smiling lady in the holiday snap has just completed treatment for cancer? A photo tells a story, though can’t include all the books in a person’s library. This haircut helped me regroup, as silly as it may sound. I gathered  the detritus of 2014, and continued on my way into 2015. Ask what was happening in a person’s life at the time  a photo was taken. It is an important question, and the person will be glad you cared enough to hear the back-story.

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11 thoughts on “What do you see?

  1. Your hair looks beautiful! Bless you for this post…a friend and I were just talking about this very issue of judging and comparing, one of the downsides to social media. I happen to love the idea of toddlers eating cookies:)


  2. I do love this. There would be no redemption for me if I were judged by just one photo. One time I stood on the toe of my toddler’s empty boots writing a check while she slipped across the mall into a pet store. I was sure she was safely beside me. After that I kept her harnessed to me, which I’m sure looked awful, as well, but I just could’ keep up!


  3. Wonderful post and I am told I am a curious person and always wonder what is behind the layers whether that is a photograph or a situation. My husband always says “Really what does it matter” and my answer is “It matters to someone!”. Thank you for your beautiful blog


  4. […] The Hummingbird Redemption This particular post I chose of hers was pretty poignant really. Rafaela reiterates that not every picture does tell a story, or at least not the one we were expecting it to be. I realised after reading this how easy it is, to get the wrong impression. […]


  5. Wow Raphael..this truly tugged at my heart strings..and so true ..from your picture I see this super attractive, self confident woman of substance! Sending lots of love your way!


  6. I have a thing about wondering about the back story to photographs; I look beyond the subject for clues. Years and years ago I remember an article in a weekend newspaper which told about the falling out of Lenin and Trotsky. Trotsky was edited out of Russian history, but they didn’t have Photoshop in those days, so they couldn’t quite edit Trotsky out of all the photos – there are many where you can see an elbow; Trotsky’s elbow.


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