In every picture

Kathy, LaRhodia, Andy and Robert capture memories through photography. I took these photos at various times during 2004-2008.

Kathy, LaRhodia, Andy and Robert capture memories through photography.
I took these photos at various times during 2004-2008.

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”  — Ansel Adams

Looking through family snapshots, it’s usually pretty easy to tell who took the pictures.  It’s the person who isn’t in many of them.  With the advent of “selfies” it’s changing somewhat, but generally speaking, photographers don’t spend much time in front of the lens.

Maybe that’s why I like to take pictures of people taking pictures.  I have something in common with people who love cameras, and I enjoy catching them in the act of saving memories for themselves and other people to enjoy.

Are you the photographer in your family?  If not, try making some photos of the person who is normally behind the camera rather than in front of it.  If you can manage to take a picture of him or her taking pictures, so much the better.  It’s a nice way to round out the story in a collection of photos; a nod to the unseen storyteller whose presence, though seldom seen, is always felt.

One year ago today:

Capture a moment


  1. HarryS

    Just a heartfelt Thank You for being here for us. 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Harry – I appreciate all of you being here for us as well!

  2. Jack

    We had an Easter celebration at my brothers house in the country, 14 in all. The obligatory pictures, a source of friction in the past have now become a comic experience, full of laughing and spontaneity. No more worrying about the perfect picture, neither the picture perfect life. Let’s just say there were no photos my kids thought worthy of Facebook, thank goodness.

    Prayers for success in surgery and peace and healing and joy for you all.

    • Jack, isn’t it nice to have those photos that you know are in no danger of being posted somewhere? 🙂 Sometimes I think I became the family photographer to avoid ending up in pictures myself. Seriously, it’s so nice to reach an age where none of that matters as much anymore. Thanks for sharing a bit of your Easter celebration with us. We deeply appreciate your prayers and good wishes.

  3. Julia, good morning. Praying for you, Jeff and Matt.

    • Thank you, Merry! ❤

  4. Great idea. I am usually the one behind the camera, but that is OK, I never come out looking good in pictures anyway. I enjoyed this article and I will keep your suggestion in mind nest time I am clicking away. I am not a good photographer but once in a great while I get a good result. :o)

    • Patricia, I’m not great at it either, but with digital photography, I finally can afford to take dozens (more like hundreds) of photos and the odds usually produce at least a few good ones that way! In any case, it’s a lot more fun for me to be behind the lens rather than in front of it!

  5. Rene

    Dear Julia, you were my first prayer this morning and I will continue to pray throughout the day as you appear in my thoughts. Today is Earth Day, and I expect that thoughts of your beautiful photos from all over Earth will have me praying constantly!

    • Rene, thank you so much! Your prayers are helping; today has gone well so far, and even the traffic was not too bad this morning. I appreciate your kind words about the photos. I am so grateful for your presence here!

  6. Lynn

    For those of us without an eye for photography (I am very unlike my sister kathy!) …. We sure do admire those with the gift to capture an event or moment on film (or digital!).

    • Lynn, I have so enjoyed Kathy’s photos over the years. I also love it that she understand my compulsion to keep stopping and snapping 🙂 which makes her an excellent traveling companion!

  7. Twenty-five years ago, my eldest daughter married and I was blessed with the son-in-law of my dreams. But, that’s a post. Although he loves practicing medicine, photography is his passion. Needless to say at any family gathering he is the picture taker. When I visit family this summer, I will make sure that he is in front of the camera sometimes.

    • I am so happy that you have such a great addition to your family! I hope you can sneak up on him and catch a picture or two of him taking pictures- or maybe even get him to pose! 😀

  8. Sheila

    Julia and Jeff, I’ve been thinking of you throughout this day, first thought was with a prayer. I so hope all is well. Just know that so many care!

    • Thank you Sheila – Today was LONG but we knew it would be. Tomorrow will be even longer. Thanks so much for your kind words and loving thoughts! I do feel lots of encouragement from all those who care. Thanks so much for being one of them. I posted you something tonight – you should get it in a few days.

      • Sheila

        Julia, I thought you might find it interesting to know that Bill has ordered a Quadcopter. Ok…now that I have your attention! It’s a flying drone with a HD camera. It’s going to be quite the hobby for him, I suppose. He’s too old to call this a mid-life crisis so we’ll call it fun! 🙂

        • Wow, I have never heard of such! Sound like great fun. Does he have remote visibility/focusing capability? How high will it go? I can’t believe how much stuff we have available to us now. Let me know when they make a drone big enough to ride on over traffic when the interstate is jammed!

      • Sheila

        Thank you, already. Rest well! 🙂

        • Sheila, I didn’t rest too well last night, but hopefully will make up for it somewhat tonight. Jeff is sleeping now, sitting up on a couch in the waiting room. Wish I had my camera handy to take a photo. Drew got some precious ones of Matt yesterday and today. I’ll try to send you copies eventually.

  9. Carolyn Miller

    I guess this is about Matt having surgery. You , Jeff and Matt are always in my thoughts and prayers, but now it is Matt that needs our special prayers. We pray that all will go well for Matt. You two take care and remember you are on many hearts right now. Tell Matt that I remember the day he pulled up his shirt and showed me his scar. Love to all.

    • Thanks Carolyn, I will tell Matt! Yesterday, all the medical folks here are exclaiming about how faded and barely visible his mid-sternal scar is – they say it’s very unusual to be that faded and almost gone after 4 repeat surgeries. I’m hoping that will mean the scarring on the heart is minimal as well. The surgeon is probably finding that out right now. How long the surgery takes will be largely dependent on how much time they spend cutting through scar tissue with all the attendent blood loss, etc. This is why Jeff’s second liver resection took over three times longer than the first one. We’ll let you know. We really appreciate your prayers.

  10. Michael

    Keeping you all in prayer. Have you seen the awkward family photo cards they sell for Birthdays? Good for a laugh and I wonder if they are real. I hope not.Unfortunately, some of these can be painful and my wife remembers a time shortly after our marriage when she was not included in a family photo. Oh well. All is forgotten- or maybe not.

    • Michael, with me it’s much more of the “maybe not” as I have been left out of more than one family collage! But since I don’t like photos of myself, that’s just as well. I haven’t seen the cards you mention but I will have to look for them. Some awkward pictures can be wonderful as long as they do not embarass anyone. As you say, much humor can be painful and I try not to perpetrate that kind, but there is plenty of comedy that everyone can enjoy and that’s what we can never have enough of.

  11. Michael

    Today is Shakespeare’s birthday- at 420. “It’s Greek to me.”

    • Wow, I had not realized that. Let’s all honor him with a favorite passage from his works. Here’s mine:
      (Portia’s speech from The Merchant of Venice)
      The quality of mercy is not strained.
      It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
      Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
      It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
      Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
      The throned monarch better than his crown.
      His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
      The attribute to awe and majesty,
      Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
      But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
      It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
      It is an attribute of God himself;
      And earthly power doth then show like God’s
      When mercy seasons justice.

  12. Ansel Adams makes an astute observation. I’ve never really thought of it before, but in his images I can really see it. His particular artistic eye informed all his beautiful work and I often think his ‘name’ before I think about the subject (usually nature).

    I guess I’m the family photographer, as far as I do take my camera to all the events. I should be more diligent of make some albums on line to share them all later. OH NO, I’m a photo hoarder…LOL.

    • As you know, I believe a photo hoarder is a great thing to be! 🙂 Especially digital photos, which bring so much joy, cost hardly anything, and take up so little physical space. You’re right about Adams; his photos have a distinct fingerprint. I think Annie Lebovitz does too, and while I can’t always recognize Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s work immediately, he might be my all-time favorite photographer because I’ve seen his name on so many moments of life beautifully captured, frozen in time.

  13. I was surprised when I Googled Henri Cartier-Bresson how many photographs of his I am familiar with or I’ve seen often. Darker subject matter, but very interesting. I linked on one of a black cate sitting on a small table. It was recently auctioned for $8,000 ???? Who would guess?

    • What strikes me about his photos is how they are predominantly focused on people. There are a few of animals or other non-human subjects, but mostly he seemed to capture all sorts of interesting glimpses of people who seemed unguarded and not consciously posing for a camera. Most of his photos seem to suggest a story or at least a personality or character. I can imagine his photos would fetch a high price nowadays. There aren’t all that many photographers who are as famous or iconic as he is.

  14. As you might guess, I am the photographer now, so photos of me are rare nowadays – thank goodness. And I rarely do selfies. My Dad was the photographer when I was a little girl though, so there are quite a few photos of me when I was young.

    • Same here. I’m glad Daddy took a relatively large number of photos as we were growing up; I love seeing them today. As an adult, I agree with you; I am quite happy to be safely BEHIND the lens when photos are taken! Once when I was lamenting how awful I thought a photo of me was, Drew said “Mama, you just don’t know what you really look like.” 😀 Ignorance can be bliss in that context.


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