LET’S TALK: Birthday Photos Don’t Get Old

We are now in February. And the speaking mistress is making black history on her own during Black History Month…continuing to age. On the 17th, I will have made 60 trips around the sun.

One of the “sheep following the social media herd” decisions I made to commemorate this achievement is to do an anniversary photo shoot.

Photoshoots seem a particularly suitable – if not cheaper – substitute for when one reaches a historic age but wants to pull out of a party because (1) covid keeps reinventing itself and come back and (2) the birthday person is worried that no one will make them show up to a party, even without a pandemic. (Yes, I still hurt a little after 11 people showed up at the 2005 post-wedding reception Dre and I hosted in Little Rock after our Louisiana wedding.)

Having only posed for Sears/Olan Mills studio photo shoots and wedding day photos for the past few years, I was intrigued by the photo shoots posted on social media…at first young people were just posing for out-of-studio high school photos; dressed like A-list celebrities for prom (last fall, homecoming pictures were a thing) and high school or college graduates. Then I noticed more and more pregnant women doing maternity photo shoots, many proudly showing off parts of their anatomy that some of us would be too chicks to show even without an upside-down baby locked inside. inside. Then I noticed the milestone birthday shoots… shoots that weren’t just selfies. Shoots where the subjects were glamorous and wore clothes their social media friends might never have seen before. As with the aforementioned shoots, nearly all of them were filmed in scenic outdoor locations.

As I approached 60, the idea of ​​doing my own birthday photo shoot began to germinate in me.

Birthdays are a time when a little vanity may be allowed; it’s OK to turn the other way and allow our fellow human beings to trumpet their own birthdays (or allow their social media accounts/friends to do so). After all, it’s the anniversary of the day God’s greatest work appeared: a human being who started out as a wrinkled, crying baby and managed to survive in what seems like an increasingly hostile world. .. and, in the case of those who have had enough previous birthdays, managed to survive long enough to vote, pay taxes and spoil their grandchildren.

So when birthday time approaches, we gladly share photos of how we’ve chosen to celebrate, posting photos of our birthday cake, dinner and/or cocktail party as well as snapshots of us and our family/friends while eating or simply making cheese. on camera.

For us women who have reached a certain age, birthday sessions allow us to show how beautiful we still are. It’s the ultimate way to say, “Hey, I just shot (fill in the number) and I still have it – at least if I have my makeup/wig/false eyelashes/long acrylic nails/Spanx plus Photoshop By the way, if you’re feeling so inclined, my Cashapp handle is…” And again, if we’re considering having a photoshoot rather than a party, the former may be cheaper, depending on the fee. of the photographer and the costs thereof. beauty enhancers.

My 59th birthday photo shoot last year was a short impromptu day with Dre as an unpaid photographer, aiming at the iPhone while I posed on the condo balcony during Little Rock’s Snowmageddon on Feb. 17. I fixed my face and short ‘do; slipped into one of the party dresses my slimming niece in Seattle gave me; grabbed long gloves; shrugged on a faux fur car coat from Goodwill; and i tried to look cute standing with the obligatory hand on hip then blowing snow off my upturned palms like i was a 50s hollywood starlet during a ski shoot in aspen .

This year, however, I didn’t want the typical glam shots, especially since I’ve posted enough photos of myself in costume at the formal and semi-formal High Profile events I’ve covered. Instead, I opted for a fantasy-based photo shoot in one of the scenic parks in the Little Rock metroplex. Admittedly, the glamorous clothes may have hidden body fat better than the chosen fancy outfit. And okay, the total cost of the attire probably wasn’t much cheaper than the cost of the glamorous duds. But sometimes you just have to be different. (And my competent photographer is good at Photoshop.)

Whatever reaction or memories emerge from this particular photoshoot, I encourage anyone celebrating a birthday in these times of a pandemic to do a little something special for themselves, may they reach a “year zero” or not. A good old fashioned in-studio or adventurous out-of-studio shoot would be nice, as time can be fleeting and it’s always a good idea to have some decent (and fun) footage of yourself at the ready. And think how cool it might be to have photos every year to form an adult version of these “K-12” collages featuring you as a kid; your children; and/or your grandchildren.

Plus, you can at least dream how cool and pocket-friendly it could be to convince the little one in your life to opt for a birthday photoshoot (“Why, Mommy/Daddy/Mimi/Paw Paw is a pro with an iPhone camera!”) rather than a party.

Say “Cheese” and send an email: [email protected]

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