Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Because Portraits

Sometime ago last year, when I thought I could pass myself off as a professional (as in paid) magazine columnist, don’t laugh, writing dreams ARE free and very satisfying; I signed up for email updates from the New Zealand Women’s Weekly.

Along with the myriad of emails I receive, daily, weekly and monthly I trash them while they’re still black bold. Unread. However, this tempting headline caught my eye.

WIN a family portrait session! Worth $3,000

Apart from the odd dejeuner sur l’herbe shot I have, to date, never subjected myself, my husband and our three children to a posed piece of studio portraiture. 

My mum however, back in the 70’s, from time to time got the urge to seize her progeny on celluloid. The results of which are still, too me, not even laughable.

Because portraits. Are mostly ugly. Even those wealthy, oil painted, gilt framed old farts adorning the walls of the best country seats are plain gloomy. Interestingly, the earliest known portrait of a human was carved upon a woolly mammoth tusk 26,000 years ago. 

One particularly tasty PORTRAIT. Shows yours truly, post haircut with Hasting stylist, Luigi. I HAVE just stepped out of the salon but my long locks and wide fringe of summer blonde are gone. Replaced with a boy cut of brown wedge and flick, nicely enhanced with my train track smile. There I sat, my teenage shoulders hunched in my pale apricot blouse (possibly from a shop) tucked into my sage green wool boucle pleated skirt (lined, but made at home) flaring unflattering. Plainness personified. All corralled within a mottled brown studio backdrop. 

‘You look lovely,’ declared my mother and gran, when this cringe worthy photograph sat like a sad Lladro puppy dog on the mantelpiece in our living room. I suspected they were lying. Those portraits can’t have been cheap.

As it happened the Women’s weekly headline was just guise for a beautiful baby snaps competition run by Colgate toothpaste.

“Colgate knows there’s nothing quite as magic as capturing your child’s beautiful smile in a gorgeous photo that can be shared with family and friends. Simply upload a photo of your child showing off their biggest smile and you’ll be in to win a family portrait session worth $3000.”

No ugly buck toothed children need apply. No royalties will be paid when we use your shots on facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and our homepage to promote our cavity preventing pastes. Hey building your child's profile from a young age is vital. Ya don't mind do ya...

Sadly I may have burned the aforementioned portrait but I found this one of my husband and his family for you. Hair was not done by Luigi. Though it could have been.

I’m immensely proud to say my husband is the hunk on the left. The one who looks like the Donny Osmond I loved through the screen of our black and white TV around the age of 10. And they called it puppy love. Heck, we were soulmates, destined for a blissful life together when we didn’t even know the other existed. 

All I can say is get that family portrait done before it’s too late. Print it. Frame it. Don’t leave it mouldering on some disc. Every time capsule should have one. It will surely bring joy. Sometime down the track.
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  1. We had one portrait done of my two youngest and I about three years ago, and I have to say it's not bad. Funny thing about the family portrait is they date so FAST. We just about look like the portrait you've posted from the 70's already. Strange that...

    1. Well the hair has it in this family portrait! I can't believe you and your boys are rockin a 70's vibe three years down the track? I have to say this is one of my all time favourite family photos. I just can't look at myself at this age. Though I'm getting better.

  2. We have never had a professional one done - but am thinking we should now - not to put on the wall, but just to give future generations a properly good laugh in a couple of decades time!

    1. Yes you should! The only portraits our family did were separately of the children. Not the same. Mum, Dad and the kids altogether is definitely more memorable.


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