Discovering Selfies- A Legacy in Photographs

It wasn’t long into my journey with cancer that I realized that for the most part I have always been the person behind the camera. Looking for myself in our giant database of photographs is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  You see in most amateur photographs, there is not much evidence of the author.

I began to think about what this would be like for my children when they start to look for images and build memories.  My children are young and most likely will be young when I die.  The reality is that their memories won’t be much more than a gesture.  Their knowledge of me will be built from the stories people tell, my legacy and photographs.   As you can imagine my realization that there are not many pictures that include me has been difficult. What will happen when they try to find me amongst the pictures of scenery, buildings, and the milestones I’ve experienced?

I have lots of pictures of buildings, beautiful views and places I’ve been.

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I have pictures of our dog Odin doing almost everything, sleeping, eating, sitting and running….

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I have pictures of our children…..

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dressing themselves up as reindeer….

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Playing with Daddy….

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and making faces…

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But where am I? 

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Last year I started to document my travels and places I’ve been through selfies. Photographing moments of my life, my adventures and milestones with the camera facing ME.  Although awkward, sometimes out of focus and badly framed, my pictures will begin to tell stories with me in it. They will leave a legacy of my life for my children, family and for the people who love me.

There was that time I was in a coffee shop in New York….. IMG_0986

That time I got really excited about structural steel, 

IMG_0978   the corner detail of a window at Fallingwater.

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the Guggenheim Museum

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That time I was sick from chemo but still Elliott and I took some time to be silly…

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 There was that time that Maelle fell asleep on my shoulder…

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Making selfies look less posed and more candid has been a challenge for me…

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My attempts to portray my sense of humour has sometimes turned out a little scary…

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And there has been some unexpected connections…

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But I hope…

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That somehow…

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as I photograph moments of my life with me in it…

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a gesture of who I am will remain…

Anna

And they will know, that I loved, was loved and I lived deliberately.

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6 replies »

  1. I’m also in your shoes with young kids and terminal diagnoses. Thank you for sharing this. I am always shying away from photos and I really need to stop. I hope you get many many years to finish all your projects.

  2. Thank you for the beautifully written reminder that photos are important and will be very important if (when) this disease takes us. I am vowing to take at least two selfies every month.

    • Thank you Mary. I have to say though that its a bit awkward when people want to see my travel photos… Ummm you have to look past my head… you see I’m photographing this places as a legacy project…

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