My Mother the Photographer 

File 2016-04-21, 4 17 50 PMI am sure I have mentioned it before but it bears repeating because I just spent over an hour and half going through some of my mom’s pictures. About 12, 000 of them. And I am not exaggerating. I wish I was. For those of you that haven’t been following me long you may not know my mom died in September 2011.

One of the things that I have put off is going through her things. In this case, her pictures. She had a lot. When I first started going though them I didn’t want to get rid of any of them. They were her memories. But 4 1/2 years later they are just sitting and it is time. A few months back I got rid of some and I went through some more today.

And good god, mom! Who the fuck are all these people?  Before I get into pictures of actual humans I will mention the non-human pictures. She has pictures of

  • palm trees
  • trees in various stages of life (saplings to massive oaks and dead trees with birds nests)
  • neighbors dogs
  • bouquets of flowers
  • roads
  • furniture
  • fish (dead and alive)
  • fires
  • food  (wedding cakes,  baby/wedding shower cakes, birthday cakes, fruit, vegetables, turkeys, pot roasts, muffins, marshmallows, buns, hot dogs, hamburgers, pickles)
  • drinks (wine, margaritas, hot chocolate, milk shakes) not many in this category, she wasn’t a drinker.
  • the floor
  • the sky
  • the lawn
  • animals (lions, tigers, snakes, elephants, bears, kittens, camels, porcupines, skunks…)
  • fences
  • cement mixers
  • wheelbarrows
  • restaurants
  • jute boxes
  • piles of bricks
  • holes in the ground (big and small)
  • cars (her own and every person she knew on a first names basis)
  • decorations (birthday, Christmas, anniversary, Valentines day, Halloween..)
  • swimming pools (kiddie and Olympic size)
  • presents (before they were opened and afterwards for all holidays – see decorations)
  • bodies of water
  • snow
  • mountains
  • ornaments
  • kitchens
  • boats
  • dishes
  • wood piles


And then there is the whole category of humans. I am not kidding. There are thousands of pictures of people who I have no idea who the hell they are. Some I can make an educated guess but most of them I don’t know. Was she a spy? Did she have a whole other family that I didn’t know about?  Were she and my dad swingers and these are pictures of people they met on their trysts?** Your guess is as good as mine because I have no clue. There are also about 1000 pictures of my (step) dad. She obviously thought he was a sexy specimen of a man because most of the pictures are him without a shirt. And then there are the baby pictures. She got the gold star for pictures of her grandbabies but she went beyond that. There are many, many pictures of babies. Whose are they? There are also pictures of people that she met on holidays including waiters, waitresses, hula dancers, chamber maids, bus drivers, pilots, receptionists, bell boys, cashiers, cab drivers and strangers she met along they way.

So the picture at the top is a very small amount of the pictures I am tossing today. This is about 5% of them.


**If you knew my mom you would know how impossible and funny this statement is.

13 thoughts on “My Mother the Photographer 

  1. This made me laugh so hard, Birdie! Yes, gawd alone knows why we all take the kinds of photos we do. When my Grandma and Grandpa used to return home to Switzerland to visit their relatives in the 1970s, ALL my Grandpa’s photos he took were of cows with big bells around their necks. WTF?

  2. OMG!! So many useless photos. My mom was famous for taking pictures of what seemed like nothing worthy of keeping like chopped off or not in the frame pictures of completely unknown people.
    I make it a habit of NOT taking pictures of people that are not family. It’s so much easier for when I’m gone. I usually take pictures of exciting places where I’ve been or things that I’ve done. Like for instance hot-air balloon festivals. I have a lot of pictures inside of colorful balloons while they are inflating them with hot air. I have pictures of hot air balloons during the night light-up ceremony. So many wonderful memories.

  3. That fascinates me Birdie. I kinda wish your Mum had labelled some of the photos. Makes me think about the hundreds of photos I have stored electronically and what my children will do with them after I’ve gone.

  4. YES! My mom is photographer-extroadinare. She turned my room at home into a ‘scrap-book’ room and is currently only back logged by 10 years of photos! I rensented it for a while, but now I just appreciate being able to go see allllll those photos. I thank her for doing it today.

  5. Haha WOW. This post tickles me because I know that my mom has a ton of SHIT that I’m going to have to help sort through someday, it’s just a matter of time… and it is downright hilarious how you described these photos and their possible inspiration/origins. You are a funny gal! Thanks for giving me smiles :o)

  6. I can’t even believe that you have posted about organizing photos because that is exactly what I recently posted on too! I can totally understand your pain. When my organization was said and done I had a good couple hundred pictures of flowers, birds, dogs, cats, reptiles, spiderwebs. It feels very excessive now that I have things in order and I will remember this feeling when shooting pictures again. I also see the need for writing on the back of photos – my mom was so good about it, but I haven’t been to date. I was surprised of things I couldn’t remember just 20 years ago.

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