Take the picture


I’m trying to get my photo situation under control. Or, I should say, I’ve been thinking about getting my photo situation under control.

Since I moved back to the ranch seven years ago, that’s pretty much been the mission of my life, to take photos of it all. I would tout my big camera along with me everywhere, capturing the way the sun set on the petals of a wildflower, the soak of the rain, the sparkle of a snow bank, the lines on my husband’s face.

I was obsessed. I created thousands of images and posted them here. I loaded up my computer, my phone, my camera cards. I did my best at organizing them at least by year, but even with my best effort, it became sort of a kazillion GB mess.

Now that I’ve added a child to the mix of things, it’s gotten downright ridiculous. I made an 80 page photo book just of the first two months of her life with every intention of doing another one at least by her first birthday, suddenly so aware and sort of frantic about the importance of not only taking the photo, but printing it as well.

And rightly so. About the time that my baby was born was the time that every technology in my universe seemed to fail me. My computer crashed and on its way to its death, it drug along the external drive where I had backed up everything. And because we had terrible internet at the time, the great mysterious services like the Cloud were useless to me.

Needless to say, there was a lot of cussing and despair involved in my attempt to recover my precious memories. And I wound up saving my computer in a fragmented form, thanks to a techie band mate, but I couldn’t save the backup. And the backup was what I really needed…


I was determined to be better about all these damn photographs I was going to be taking in this next phase of my life. I was going to keep on top of it. Make prints. Make books. Make use of them so that when Edie’s my age she doesn’t have to figure out how to recuperate ancient laptops to retrieve her memories the way we do with old home movies and slides.

I was going to put her memories in books I tell you! I was going to do better than my mother, who has our memories in piles in a trunk in her living room and the overflow in a drawer in the buffet and another overflow in another drawer in the kitchen.

But I’m not convinced people can change. And here I am, a year and a half later with one photo album and another thousand photos of my baby in all phases of getting there on my computer and an overwhelming feeling that our memories have the potential to be lost forever if I don’t get on the ball, especially cause here I am pregnant again, and Oh My GAWD, I’m halfway through this baby-growing business and I haven’t even taken a photo of my belly!!!

I took like seventy thousand photos of my growing belly with Edie!! This kid’s not even born yet and I have some explaining to do!!


So anyway, I have a goal. Before this baby is born, I’m going to catch up on the album thing. It’s not that hard. I just have to do it.

In the meantime, I have signed up for a cool service called Chatbooks, where they automatically send you little square books featuring photos off of my Instagram feed. So if anything, in the end, I’ll have a nice little collection of our day to day life, because I put the responsibility in someone else’s hands.

So this was on my mind when I was putting together September’s issue of Prairie Parent. Because soon it will be school picture time, and soon moms and dads of seniors will be digging through the archives of their child’s life, pulling out the favorites, and putting them in books and on poster boards for relatives and friends to reminisce over.

Time goes too fast. I always thought it. I think it more every day. Photographs and videos are our only visual connection to a past we can’t hold on to. So I’ve decided not to apologize about it, and just keep snapping. And while I regret a few photos taken of me (Ahem…Little Sister!!!) I don’t think I’ll ever regret one taken of my growing and changing family…

Read more about “Taking the Picture” in my From the Editor column in this Month’s Prairie Parent. And check out the full issue of the magazine online at www.prairieparent.com

Counting Photos, Collecting Memories

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16 thoughts on “Take the picture

  1. You are a beautiful woman, and your photos are great, but why so many? Isn’t it, dare I say, a little narcissistic?

    • Obviously, william1058, you have never been a parent, nor a mother, (assuming by your email address), otherwise you would understand. Keep your mean comments to yourself. Jessie has many, many followers who absolutely love these photos, and look forward to seeing them. If you think there are too many, don’t look at them, and get off her blog!!!

    • Just trying to make a point in this piece about how many photos I’m dealing with here. I just feel the need to document our lives for the future generations because I am one of them who is hungry for more. And it’s the way I appreciate and stay in the moment

  2. The whole need to organize my photos is a thing that keeps me up at nights. I keep thinking, if I don’t do it now I’ll never catch up. I would rather printed ones be in tubs somewhere than the chance that they could be lost in a cloud somewhere. So glad it isn’t just me!

  3. Not sure what that narcissistic comment comes from but its silly and unnecesary. Must of gotten up on the wrong side of the bed…
    I think photos help me feel secure because if I have them I can relax but I dont peruse them very often and truthfully ever…..but I LOVE to look at everyone elses photos. That is really fun. And Jesse your photos remind me of home and the feelings I have when Im there so I Love yours. Dont be hard on yourself it is what it is and I think its just fine….your style, your way….so there!!

  4. Oops totally forgot to tell you I think the undertaking of the magazine is super cool!!! How much fun is it to dream things up and see them to fruition. If photos take a backseat you got your priorities right on in my book. Congrats!!!!

  5. Pingback: Take the picture – SEO

  6. I can totally relate!!! In fact I can totally relate to so many of your posts and enjoy reading them so much! Keep on snapping….

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