The Awful Photo You Must Now Never Delete Or Throw Away

The photo I thought was a mistake is now my favorite. From behind photo.

My finger needs to calm down.

Fight the itch.

The one that is so quick to delete.

The one that is instant judge and jury over a photo not being worthy.

I’m reminded of this lesson as I go through old family photos.

Which to keep.

Which to toss.

Does your delete finger itchy, as well, Dear Reader?

The one that is about to delete that imperfect photo.

You know you’re inclined to do it.

Make more space on your phone.

Remove any trace of a less than perfect life?

You know the photo where your kid cut her bangs with plastic scissors the night before school pictures?

The one where you think your thighs look to big?

The snap where one of your four kids has a scowl on his face?

I’ve had an ongoing struggle with the delete finger.

For the longest time.

Then, I started seeing them.

The photos that looked like an accident.

My friend, Cyndi, would share pictures of her family vacations.

They always seem to include a shot of her two girls taken from the back.

Cyndi's daughters as flower girls at a friend's wedding. One of the early from behind photos.

Cyndi’s daughters as flower girls at a friend’s wedding. One of the early from behind photos.

Walking down a sidewalk in Paris on their first trip to Europe.

Walking ahead at the state fair.

“You need to get out in front of them,” I would silently coach, trying to improve her family photo skills.

That is, until I noticed there was always a picture like this.

Every single trip.

One specific photo from the back.

Could it be on purpose?

Indeed, it was and is.

“I love ‘from behind’ shots,” Cyndi shared. “Makes me think of all the places they will go.”

I was converted.

Suddenly, this was no mistake.

It was rather brilliant.

The “From Behind” came to be my favorite shot of all her photos.

Not seeing faces,

Letting my mind wander to the surrounding, to what they’re wearing, the style of coat, to the moment in time.

To places they’ll go

I started doing this with my own kids.

Catching our girls with a from behind photo as they take in London from atop a double-decker bus.

Catching our girls with a from behind photo as they take in London from atop a double-decker bus.

They don’t like it.

But they don’t like much of what I do,

So at least I’m consistent.

And it’s from behind.

What they don’t know….

And now to come full-circle.

My friend,

My person,

My Cyndi is going through a transition.

A divorce

Not one she would’ve picked.

After some good cries,

She’s picking up the pieces.

Going for her MBA.

Taking trips.

Including one to see her oldest daughter who was spending a semester overseas.

“Do me a favor,” I messaged my niece-by-love, “get me a picture of your mom on this trip.

From the back.”

She more than delivered.

This week, I blew up that picture and gave it to Cyndi for her birthday.

Birth of her new life.

The caption at the bottom reads, “Oh the places you’ll go.”

The From Behind photo I created for my friend.

The latest photo to chronicle the journey of an imperfect, messy life.

Like mine.

Like yours.

Like the one captured in that photo you thought you’d delete.

And now just might be your biggest treasure.

(((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)

And if you connect with my column on friendship, and parenting, you might like my book–

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover



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The Awful Photo You Must Now Never Delete Or Throw Away

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min