Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christmas Photo Planning

Every year we do a family Christmas photo. Every year around November 13 I start panicking about what the photo will be. I try to come up with either a flat-out parody (Abbey Road, From Here to Eternity, Anne Geddes Bunnies) or at least something vaguely thematic (1950s family, police lineup).

This year I ran through all the usual ideas that have been rejected in years past (Brady Bunch, Blue Man Group, Beverly Hillbillies), but fortunately came up with some new ones...Beach Boys, hippies on a VW bus, trailer park trash. The top idea was a country/bluegrass/hillbilly band performing at the Grand Ole Opry, circa 1955. Okay, it's better visually than it sounds on paper. You have to picture it in B&W, the Photoshopped Opry barn backdrop, the matching outfits with Colonel Sanders ties, country guitars, stand-up bass, banjo. Yee-haw. You can't do it like you're making fun of it--you have to do it like you're really in the picture, it's 1955, you're there on stage.

But as I started doing a little online research, I thought, you know, what if instead of Grand Ole Opry it was the Ed Sullivan Show? You know, dub in an image of Ed off to the side. Maybe we're a doo-wop group instead of bluegrass. Maybe we're a family of Russian acrobats, with a bear.

Then it struck me--Lawrence Welk! Eureka. I've been completely giddy for the past 24 hours, and I'm poring over apparel on eBay. We'll be one of those gay dancing families, a mixture of the Semanski Sisters and Bobby & Cissy, with Lawrence off to the side and the orchestra in the background. The boys and I will have white vests and ascots, Jennifer will have a '70s pastel polyester dress. Phony smiles, some kind of Up-With-People dance pose. I'm so excited.

It will take some Photoshop--actually a lot of Photoshop for this, and I'm kind of looking forward to that too, to see how accurate I can make it. My Photoshop philosophy is that it's okay to use it to execute an idea that otherwise couldn't be executed, but not simply to cut corners. (Simply pasting our heads on top of the Beatles' would be an example of the latter. I hate that kind of crap.)

Stand by for the results. I'm psyched about this project. The colors, the visual composition, the cheesiness. This could be a kick-ass photo.

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