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#417570 - 11/28/12 07:18 PM old photos
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3513
Loc: somewhere in Africa
rather than continue to hijack Gecko's thread, i am starting a new one. the first part is from a response i posted in his thread - which really got me thinking - thank you very much, man!

beginning of quote from other thread:
"i have strenuously avoided having any or even looking at them if i can help it. i know there are lots at my mom's place and in storage somewhere from when she downsized. but i really have no desire to see them. don't know if it is fear of triggers, guilt for having deserted him for so long, or what...

my wife wants to see them and have them, but it make me feel really uncomfortable. i am OK with ones as a baby and toddler - but not of the ages when i lived with the step-dad - from about 6 up to 18. maybe someday i'll be ready for that.

Lee

on more reflection, i think that what really repulses me in the photos i have seen is the fundamental lies that they represent. my family was really big on appearances - making everything look good to the outside world. but the reality was oh, so different. we had a nice house and cars and were always well dressed and did all the right things, even took vacations in Europe. but when i had to smile for the camera, i knew it was hiding so much and was nothing but a forced conspiracy of deception."
- end of quote from other thread

following up on this, i realized that though the step-dad was an avid photographer, his shots were all of a kind - posed. there are few if any candids among the thousands of prints and slides that he took. Everything had to be tightly controlled. there are photos of the family in front of many landmarks and attractions - all lined up and rigidly staring into the camera - afraid to move and with fake grins plastered on every face. some of his worst tirades were if we failed to cooperate with his family photo shoots.

i remember those family vacations as being long stretches of driving or ailine or tour bus travel interspersed with photo ops. it was less important to see or experience the places than it was to have photographic proof that we were there. i often wished i had eyes in the back of my head because i seemed to spend more time facing away from the sights and looking toward the camera than i did appreciating the views. we had to look at the pictures to see what we had "seen."

and all of that was typical of our life at home as well. you don't leave evidence of anything real that was happening behind the closed doors and drawn window blinds - so no candids. you only release the carefully arranged and composed pictures that show what you want the outsiders to see and what everyone will consider the norm.

my favoite picture of myself from my youth is a drawing that was done by my art teacher when i was about 15. it is me seen through a kind and approving adult's eyes - not the step-dad's.

Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#417573 - 11/28/12 08:05 PM Re: old photos [Re: traveler]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I think, Lee, I may have been down this road before on the MS boards, but...

There were two family groups for me...one with my adopted Dad and another with the Evil Adopted Mommybitch who, unfortunately had custody of me and who was responsible for the setup that made me perfect fodder for my perp.

When it comes to pix - happens to be a considerable part of my business thanks to Dad's constant encouragement at the time - there's a huge contrast between the two.

A couple years ago, I started to restore a lot of Dad's pix from my childhood. Yes, digital imaging guru...it's my job. It was great! I'd often end up sobbing because I'd be able to pull up long-forgotten details in the images.

OTOH, the kind of pix you're talking about Lee are the ones I trashed years ago for many of the same reasons...stilted, posed, "we were there," etc. Looking at them I was also aware of the abuse that was going on behind that phony scene. Today I still bear the scars, one of them literally from a deep 3" cut across my left knee. And the psychological scars remain, but I've dealt with 'em as best I can over the years.

It took some digging, but I was determined to trash any of the pix that involved the Evil Mommybitch. Since it took a while, I had time to think about my decision. Trashed 'em anyway. I felt as if it was my way of telling those people to go to Hell and that they had no right to any place in my life.

I'm lucky I had Dad. And lucky I had his pix. For myself I've found that dumping one issue doesn't feel really complete unless I can fill the space with something.

Good luck with this Lee. Thanks for the post.

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#417579 - 11/28/12 08:55 PM Re: old photos [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3513
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Lancer - you were indeed lucky to have had your dad. sorry about the other world you also had to contend with. frown

you have made a therapeutic exercise out of re-editing those photos to portray your view of reality. i applaud you for that. i can see how it could be very healing.

i think one reason it is so painful for me to see thos photos from the past is that they represent only one perspective - the abuser's. they show a very staged and artificial view of something that did not really exist as he was attempting to portray it.

MY reality, MY truth, MY experience, MY point of view was edited out of existence. HIS version was substituted and imposed. i was told what to believe, what was real, what i could or could not talk about, what i could or could not FEEL. NONE of the most pivotal and formational and decisive events that made me who and what i am were ever pictured - just the "nice" superficial sort of fluff like you would put on a photo Christmas card to reinforce the false public image. ALL LIES!!!

so, in a way, i feel the same as Gecko - there are no photos of ME during that period. even though there are hundreds of photos in which my body and face appears - they are pictures of a puppet, a pawn, a shell, a mask, a dummy - NOT anything that even remotely resembles the TRUTH! the disparity between what i see in the photos and what i know and feel was the reality is too out of sync for me to tolerate.

Lee


Edited by traveler (11/28/12 08:57 PM)
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#417612 - 11/29/12 06:21 AM Re: old photos [Re: traveler]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Hey that Lee

I can really relate to this. Fake happy family. Fake smiles.

There is one candid photo of me that a teacher took of me in grade 6 doing a report on something environmental beside a creek holding a chart (my visual aid). It is the only picture that feels like ME. The teacher gave it to me and my partner on the project at the end of the year and we cut it in half - so we each had ourselves. Ha - I just realised that I worked with that same teacher as an adult in a different school. I forgot that he was the one who took the picture. He used to spit when he talked. Lol. Good teacher though.

It made me think of this song - Family Portrait by Pink. It is more about longing for the pictures to be true but the idea of the fake happy picture is still there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSjIz8oQuko

This Lee
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#417635 - 11/29/12 11:54 AM Re: old photos [Re: traveler]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
You bring up an interesting thot (Lee - U.S.) I don't often express here...a wee bit off-topic. As reviled as Dad was by the Evil Mommybitch and as infrequently as I was allowed to visit him, he's the one who's responsible for saving my very sanity.

btw, Lee - Oz, ltns! Like the teacher story.

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#417647 - 11/29/12 03:52 PM Re: old photos [Re: Lancer]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
I put a bunch of my child pictures under the Avatar thread.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=417634#Post417634

Puffer



Edited by pufferfish (11/29/12 03:55 PM)

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