Remember how American Indian tribes believed that the camera would steal your soul? And everyone thought that was weird? Well, it turns out they were actually geniuses who were merely ahead of their time.

At present, I can think of several occasions when I have died a little inside at the unrelenting hand of a camera.

For example, consider the family vacation. Or rather consider the moment when you think you’re finally finished with a weekend-long family gathering.

You’re tired; you need a nap and four showers (one to clean yourself and then three more to rid yourself of the shame of watching your uncle try to find the bathroom in his underwear at 2 a.m.) And then this happens…

And suddenly, you’re a hostage again.

A crowd of people bumping into each other, posing awkwardly, complaining, crying, and shouting “now use my camera” stands between you and your freedom.

Not convinced that cameras are the soul-thieves tribes believed them to be?

How about the drastic difference between what you think you look like when someone takes a snapshot of you and a friend dancing together at a wedding

And what you actually look like when you finally get a notice that the photo has been uploaded to Facebook for you and all of your mutual friends to see.

Did I mention that thanks to the magic of Facebook that image will probably enjoy a longer lifespan than you?

If you still don’t believe that cameras are stealing your soul, then I encourage you to attempt to Skype with your parents. Just once. (Warning: This experience may turn you into an atheist.)

Webcams seem to have been designed specifically to drive a wedge between you and your technologically simple parents (and also maybe for porn.)


Cameras stealing people’s souls.

It doesn’t seem like such an antiquated school of thought anymore does it?

I didn’t think so.

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35 Responses to And then a camera stole a piece of my soul

  1. Jessica says:

    I am laughing so hard at my computer screen right now. First time visiting after seeing a tweet about you. So glad I came by, this post is my family exactly. I’m going back to read this post again, love it!

  2. You have convinced me that cameras are evil. And also, pictures on Facebook loaded by others – not cool. They’ve not be vetted and Photoshopped to death before being published. Love you as usual!

  3. Leighann says:

    This is hilarious!!
    And so true. Now that I step back and consider it, the camera IS stealing my soul.

  4. Suniverse says:

    That’s why I’M the photographer – so I can escape all these horrors. Especially that fucking Facebook one. I HATE that. If I wanted to share my pictures with you, I’d invite you over and hold you hostage with giant photo albums [read: boxes of photos and my computer screen where the 8,000,000 digital pictures I’ve taken but never developed are stored].

    As always, you make my soul sing.

  5. LOVE the evil tag – truly. Awesome.

  6. HeathRobots says:

    Know what’s awesome? You are. And no camera can ever take that away from you.

  7. jillsmo says:

    You’re a genius

  8. Kelley says:

    Hahaha!!! This is awesome and so absolutely TRUE! I feel pretty enough when I take the picture but when I look at it, I look exactly like the person you drew up there. My husband always chimes in, “But that’s what you look like!” “NO, IT’S NOT, YOU DIP WAD!!!!”

  9. Firefly says:

    Hate, hate facebook photo’s uploaded my others to sum it up,: I hate them with the fires of a thousand suns! I make awkward faces on purpose to encourage others to not take my picture, but that has taught my Peanut to do it (example here: ) and when she does that I think she steals a little bit of the camera’s soul. Have a great day!

  10. Handflapper says:

    Ohhhh. . . You feel my pain. It’s like you’ve looked into my soul. If I had a soul, which I don’t, because it’s been stolen by a thousand damn cameras.

    A thousand? Who am I kidding. There are not nearly that many people who want a picture of me. More like a couple of cameras, and those were accidental–I just happened to be in the background.

  11. Alexandra says:

    Hyperbole and a Half should be very scared.


  12. So glad Kelley had you in The Break Room! I am a firm believer in soul-stealing cameras. My moment of clarity overcame me as I viewed photos taken from a family day at the beach this past Spring Break. 40 years + twins + one more + swimsuit from two seasons ago = heart-breakingly disastrous photo evidence.

  13. Jen says:

    Group pictures are from the devil!

  14. I am laughing through tears of frustration. I hate Skype with every fiber of my being, and a lot of that has to do with my parents trying to Skype with an AppleIIe computer from 1984. JUST UPDGRADE ALREADY, MOM! ALSO, I HATE YOUR GROSS CASSEROLES, AND QUIT TELLING ME I NEED TO CUT MY HAIR!
    Ahem… sorry.
    Anyhoo, great post as always!

  15. MommaKiss says:

    We don’t even attempt “computer chatting” with the old people in the family. Hell I’m lucky I can get them to pick up a phone to say hello to their grandbabies.

    Facebook tagging? There’s a rule amongst our friends – permission must be granted. If you’ve hidden my 16 chins and my arms aren’t looking like a twinkie? Post away! Share the hotness!

  16. Stephanie says:

    LOVE! My parents want to Skype all. the. time. (to see the bebe) but I am very rarely appropriate when in my house. I lie and tell them that the computer is broken!

  17. Deb Rox says:

    The almost free-no we are taking many group photos moment is a killer. Stone cold killer.

  18. Oh, you must live in my world. What a fantastically funny dipiction of mylife…..

  19. Just read your post at the Break Room – loved it! You are truly a talented artist. And thank you for alerting me to the dangers of cameras.


  20. Barbara L says:

    Laughing so hard, when we brought Lucy home from the shelter Keith wanted to take pics of her. You know to share with everyone when we announce oh hey, we got to bring home our new dog from the shelter today. . .didn’t work out so well. I told hubby that she seemed to think the camera was going to steal her soul like some people do.
    Seriously though, that whole FB picture thing has gotten to be one of my pet peeves. Peeps dig out these old pics and post them and tag them and they get grabbed by some freak who I swear doctors them up to look stupid. After all, there is no way I actually wore my hair that way, or wore blue eyeshadow. . .oh wait, this is your blog. . .
    Let’s try this again: Excellent, hysterically funny post.

  21. After my wedding, mind you after a straight week of family and strangers constantly photographing me, while packing up the house we rented, which we had under an hour to do, entire swaths of my family made me put down boxes and bags, delaying my leaving to enjoy my honeymoon, to take more photos and then demanding that I email them these photos directly upon arriving at my honeymoon destination, to which I politely told them to suck it. Also, skyping with your parents is like hell, but try skyping your grandparents, that’s right, while they sit in a Panera bread because they obviously don’t have internet. They thought it was a magic box!

  22. Tonya says:

    This is so freakin’ hilarious!

    Sadly, I’m the annoying one trying to capture all the photos. I try my family and friends nuts. My 22 month old has already learned to say “no camera” because he’s tired of it being in his face all the damn time.

  23. Oh my gosh! SO flippin’ funny! I love this! Laughed my head off!

  24. MamaRobinJ says:

    Absolutely freakin’ brilliant. I hate having my picture taken. I always look exactly like the bad dancing photo. I was so freaked out about wedding pictures, but they actually turned out well. Must have been some sort of camera fairy there that day (and I don’t even think our photographer was gay…).

    I have Facebook settings set up so that it restricts who can tag pictures of me. Lord knows the last thing I need is something posting something from my awkward university years. That awful look is already burned into my brain!

    (PS Thanks for linking up with me for Fledgling Friday!)

  25. Heather H says:

    Hilarious! Love it!

  26. Phildo says:

    Kendall you are the blogger of the century!

  27. Jess says:

    Cameras confuse me because I look at myself in the mirror and I’m like “HOT DAMN COULD YOU BE ANY MORE FABULOUS” and then my friends tag all these pictures of me on FB and in every one of them it looks like I’m chewing or extremely constipated. Sometimes I wonder if they take pictures with me because they know I’m not photogenic so there’s no way they’ll look bad.

  28. Nana Skyper! says:

    Way funny! Didn’t know I was in such good and volumnious company! (Now I wonder if my son and grandsons make fun of me when we skype, though. No, I don’t wonder at all, of course he does! LOL!)

  29. Lisa says:

    Holy crap. I’m officially going through the serious amounts of photo’s taken during my lifespan and now I am terrified that I no longer have any soul left… what does that make me?

  30. Yuliya says:

    Oh I die. I DIE! Who are you and where have you been all my blog readin life?

  31. fusette says:

    Laugh-weeping w/ recognition. I have been that stick figure, pulled from my car mid melt-down, cursing a disorganized, last minute directive to smoosh together, squint into the sun, and “smile” with a dozen other damp, eager to depart souls. Not exactly the best way to top a weeklong family vacation. This is why I prefer candid shots. And my place BEHIND the lens.

  32. Valarie Black says:

    Hell I’m lucky I can get them to pick up a phone to say hello to their grandbabies. Sometimes I wonder if they take pictures with me because they know I’m not photogenic so there’s no way they’ll look bad. Way funny!

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