A Favorite Photo


Out of all the photos that we amass, how does a single image become a favorite?

I considered this as I was in the small kitchen of my mother’s apartment.  She is 97 and a few weeks old.  She has put an old photo of herself on the side of her refrigerator, pinned at all four corners by two butterfly and two ladybug magnets.  It is obviously an image of herself that she loves, and in fact I love it too.

My mother is probably about 20 in the picture and she is sitting on the grass holding a violin and bow. Now, the violin isn’t the significant feature.  My mother is musical in general but piano was her instrument.  She, like everyone in her family, dabbled in a variety of instruments and I guess she had a short period of trying out what she would call the fiddle.

The clothes aren’t the thing.  She is wearing a plain sleeveless shift dress and clunky lace-up shoes.  She is not wearing the dark lipstick of the time.  She didn’t take off her wire-rim glasses. I don’t think it was a special occasion, just some moment that someone had a camera to use and they used it on her.

So what makes it a wonderful photo of her?  It is how she sits so straight, knees folded to the side.  It is an awkward position but she is perfectly at ease; back and head upright, easy long neck, small smile to the picture-taker.  Instead of seeing plain shoes you notice the beautiful line of leg to extended foot.  She holds the violin perfectly perpendicular to the earth and the bow in a perfect horizontal.

Graceful as a geisha print, my mother sits on the yard of the farm in Ohio.  I am so happy this momentary image was captured.


8 thoughts on “A Favorite Photo

  1. My favorite photo of my mom is of her on the baseball field no doubt their because one of her foster children was playing. She’s wearing a pair of blue jeans and she’s staring directly into the camera smiling. My mom didn’t like to have her picture taken so it’s rare to see her smiling with what looks like a bit of mischeif in her blue jeans and top. Thanks for sharing the photo of your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I look at your favorite photo and the word confidence comes to mind. I guess because of the straight back and straight lines of the instrument. It could also be a Niki ad with the slogan “Just do it” added to the bottom right-hand corner! Thanks for sharing! Once I get back home I’ll have to look for a favorite photo!


    1. Hi in NYC and hope its wonderful!
      Yes, try this with a photo of your own. It was fun to analyze a favorite photo- could be an easy prompt when you don’t know what to write. It also feels like an art exercise- taking a closer look at expression, composition, details…
      I hope to do some writing together with you this Fall, perhaps give us a little time to get back to our classrooms first 🙂


  3. A photo speaks a thousand words doesn’t it. I love how self assured your mother seems in this photo. She’s aware of her strengths and her value. I think that’s something that was rare back in those days. 🙂 Thanks for sharing with all of us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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