While walking down Main Street, USA, my family and I look through the massive criss-cross of people to see Cinderella’s Castle. My dad has a bag of popcorn, which he refuses to share and only gives the rest of us the kernels. He always looks forward to people watching and munching his way down to see Magic Kingdom’s famous icon. My mom is removing park maps and Tums, in preparation for my dad, and starts planning our day through the park. Eric, my brother, complains as his girlfriend, Rachel, refuses to hold his cell phone. Meanwhile, I just sit back, sometimes literally on a bench or curb, and watch the scene develop. A Disney employee with a camera then greets us.
“Would you like a picture using a Photopass?” she asks in a cheery voice, “It’s free and you can order the pictures online later.” My mom and my dad look at each other and agree. We all line up in front of the castle and grin.
“Three. Two. One. Say cheese.” Click. Our moment is captured forever. For a brief instant, we forget our worries and put a smile on for the camera. Even though it may have been a façade, in retrospect, my family and I realize that we were in happy times. I believe in pictures.
Pictures let us relive experiences, re-imagine our youth, and remember how much times have changed, or haven’t. They capture our core self. I have a picture of myself holding a toddler-sized golf club at a putt-putt course when I was little. My hair is blonde and curly, going down to just above my shoulders, and I am wearing my favorite picnic-themed overalls. I can still recall jumping up and down because of the joy I felt after sinking my first hole in one. And although my hair color and style and outfits have changed, miniature golfing is still one of my favorite activities. My mom loves the picture because of how it truly encapsulates who I was at the time. I am reminded of what kind of child I was then and what kind of person I have become now. When I see my smile in the picture, I grin because I know how proud I felt. I believe that pictures are gifts that keep on giving.
Now I have bought myself a camera and take pictures wherever I go. I like being able to capture a moment that will never exist again. With my pictures, I enjoy explaining how wonderful and place was, how goofy my dad acted afterward, or how hard it was to get a group of people to stand still. I can take my travels and share my experiences with my friends and family. The pictures that I take do not just capture images, though. They capture sights and sounds. Pictures bring people together to be taken and still do long after the flash.
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