Sometime around New Year’s Eve, I realized that I own no pictures. I mean, besides a few random photos lying around, mostly from formal events or graduations, I can count the photos I own on two hands: a collage of college/high schools friends circa 1996-2003, an odd photo series Jenny and Rebecca made of “the three sides of Mikey G” (innocently happy, happily intoxicated and, um, hungover) and this random picture Rebecca and I took in a movie theater photo booth in high school (probably the best picture ever taken of me, oddly enough). But, if someone were to ask me “what do your friends look like,” I’d probably have to use the internet to show them. Which made me realize two things: First, that the last time someone took a sober picture of me was at my Bar Mitzvah and, second, that pictures have taken on a different meaning in the increasingly accessible, internet/social networking–era. While people will always use pictures for decoration, and to document significant moments in their life, it is no longer necessary to collect pictures of your friends as if they were trading cards. If I want to say, “this is what my friends Rebecca or Jenny” look like, I can just go online and show them a picture. Which leads me to my second point: with the exception of formal portraits, I’ve come release that 90% of all people think that they “look bad” in any given photo, while everyone else who will see the same photo will tell them that “they look fine.” I guess that’s because, in some strange way, we’re never used to seeing ourselves.
In any event, after coming to this realization, I stole some photos off my friend’s various pages, and compiled a little photo album I’ve affectionately dubbed “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Be More Meaningful Than They Appear.” Much to my surprise, it’s been pretty cool to look back at the 30 or so nights I now have documented, to remember what life felt like in bad turtlenecks (before they were ironic) and when my world revolved around certain people or places I’ve long since forgotten (or at least consciously avoided thinking about). And, of course, to remember that the last time someone took a sober picture of me, I really was 13.