Something Jon and I have fallen into doing, without even really planning it, is to make series and repetitions of themes in our photos, particularly during our travel photos. Ultimately I think I like this so much because it forces us to be imaginative, but also because there’s something about these same-but-different pictures reminds us that time is happening, yet many of the things we love most are still there for us.
Museums are a great place for things to stay the same, even if we don’t. I’ve always loved the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I remember the first time I ever saw their Kronosaurus skeleton. I was 11 and on a school trip. I’ve seen it many times since, and in 2004 a friend of mine- it happened to be Jenny Wood- snapped this picture of me admiring it.
I’m sorry I don’t have a better picture- I didn’t realize that it would be an important one in years to come. It was taken before I met Jon, but it wouldn’t be much longer before I would.
Also in 2004 I fell in love with the coelacanth. The coelacanth is an ancient Devonian fish, of which 300+-year old fossils have been found. This fish was always believed in the western world to have gone extinct after the age of the dinosaurs, until a research assistant traveling in Madagascar found a dead one at fish market while traveling in 1938. Absolutely shocked, she purchased the fish and sent it over to her boss, and they eventually determined that this fish that had been presumed extinct for 65 million years was alive and well. It’s been called the Lazarus fish, and the Harvard Museum has a nice specimen of one. I also have a nice tattoo of one now.
The first time I ever went to the Harvard Museum with Jon was in 2007, where I thought it would be fun to recreate the picture of me admiring the kronosaurus, this time with the man I would marry.
And in 2010 we paid another visit to Old Man Kronosaurus and posed again, but not remembering off the top of our heads who was standing on which side in the 2007 picture. I also confused the “hands behind back” pose of 2004 with the 2007 picture, but it’s still pretty nice:
And again on our most recent trip we saw the Kronosaurus again, this time taken at a better angle because someone was there to take the picture for us. The other two times we had to prop up the camera on a bench, making the photographer look like a midget with balance issues.
We’ve also tried to keep up with the “me contemplating the coelacanth” pictures, but I think we forgot that in 2007. Maybe we presumed it was extinct. I don’t like them as much as the Kronosaurus pictures, but they’re still pretty fun.
My guess is that our repeat-theme pictures are a cooler equivalent to those class photos that kids had to take every year in elementary school. They change every year, but they always have that silly backdrop. We don’t get to take class pictures anymore, so we improvise.