Lately, the parks have been full of families getting a good start on their Christmas cards.
Under the command of professional photographers, people are out in the parks getting their portraits taken. Young children perch on tree limbs or sit up straight on terraced ledges, smiling for the cameras, under the watchful gaze of proud parents and grandparents–a small army. Couples freeze in static kisses, unnaturally motionless against backgrounds of sparkling water and changing leaves. Shivering young parents, off-camera and often with the family dog in tow, coo nonsensically, desperate to coax pleasant expressions from their newborns, vulnerably arrayed in public on blankets, beneath sculptures and landmarks that say ‘Chicago’.
I felt sorry for this family, because the pier on which they were sitting isn’t clean, being frequented by geese and other birds who live on the pond. Their Christmas card will transcend this unfortunate reality, but what of their memories of this day? My heart goes out to the attractive young mother, so visibly uncomfortable. A family portrait should express ease and dignity, which the photographer quite forgot in her quest for a shot.
Perhaps, if you’re reading this, you have a nice Chicago portrait you’d care to share?