I’ve always enjoyed photography. Over the years, I’ve estimated that I’ve taken more than a hundred thousand photographs. Some of them turned out nice, but most of them leave a lot to be desired, especially the rolls of film I took when I first started getting into photography. I was left wondering what to do with the stacks of old photographs.
After a drunken night serenaded by the depressing sounds of Morrissey and leafing through old photo albums containing all whopping two of my ex-girlfriends from 20 years of dating eligibility, I came up with a solution of what to do with all my old, crappy photographs. I figured I could improve them, make them more exciting by Photoshopping things in the background, like explosions and fireworks and Kate Upton jumping up and down on a trampoline. Yeah, that’s it. Spruce them up a little. And so the idea for the Before & Happily Ever After series was born on that drunken, self-loathing night.
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This photo was taken back in college at a Christmas function in December of1998. The pretty girl sitting on my lap being awkwardly touched on the inner thigh by my left hand was and still is a good friend of mine. We never dated for one reason or another. I think it’s because she’s from Ohio.
The pretty girl went on to get married, and has a lovely family made up of her husband and children. Instead of daydreaming of what could’ve been between her and I, I decided to daydream of what it would be like to go to the Christmas function with Claire Danes. I used to have the biggest celebrity crush on the blond-haired, beauty after watching the film Romeo + Juliet. Claire Danes. Photoshop, do your thang. Sprout some angel wings and make me a Juliet.
This is a photo I took of my brother and sister-in-law back in May of 1995. I have no idea what my brother is pointing at. He had this whole pointing at the sky phase that lasted like a year. I have at least a dozen photos of him doing this same exact pose.
The photo has potential. The random pay phone in the middle of the wood paneled hallway is nice, but the composition overall is poor and the background is boring. I decided to jazz up the photo and give my brother something to really stare at. Him and his second hand thrift store T-shirt are gonna need more than a second chance when I get through with him.
Just a typical evening back in June of 1995, hanging out with some friends, taking turns kicking back in a wheel chair. That’s another brother sprawled out on the car roof like he’s Tyra Banks gearing up for a swimsuit photo shoot for Sports Illustrated or something. All he needs is a pristine beach and a crystal clear ocean in the background, but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction. Instead, I decided to get rid of my friend’s clunky Oldsmobile parked in the driveway, and replace it with the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. It adds just the right amount of flair the original photo was lacking.
Like most college kids, I was poor and had to be resourceful. And by being resourceful, I mean that I stole sugar and creamer from the cafeteria for my coffee because I couldn’t afford to buy them from Wal-Mart. But in this case, being resourceful meant that I asked my graphic design professor if I could have a bunch of old posters that were laying around so that I could liven up my 10 x 10, concrete block prison cell of a dorm room. He was kind enough to oblige. However, instead of scoring a Kurt Cobain poster or a scantily clad Jennifer Love Hewitt poster, the posters he gave me were mostly of puppy dogs and kitty cats.
Beggars can’t be choosers, so I decorated the ceiling with the puppy posters, and turned my dorm room into a glorified petting zoo. It wasn’t nearly the hip and cool look I was going for, especially with the poster pictured front and center that read “This room is rated R. No adults allowed without kid’s OK!” Being poor sucks ass, but Photoshop can make you feel like a wealthy king. Time for a little dormitory makeover, Photoshop CS3 edition. Goodbye puppy dogs and hello Ashley Jugs.
I don’t even know where to begin with this monstrosity of a photo. I guess I should begin with my brother. There he is pointing again. See, I told you. I’ve got a whole year’s worth of photographs of him pointing upwards towards the sky. It musta been the happiest year of his life to just go around pointing at nothing all day. I’d love to live in that world for even one day.
I have no clue what’s going on in this photo really. All I know is that my brother-in-law on the far left asked us to come take a tour of the factory he worked at. The factory makes garden hoses or something like that, and so being that I can’t pass up an educational tour of how garden hoses are made, I agreed to attend the tour. That was before I knew we had to wear safety glasses. I have a small head, and of course they handed me the biggest pair of safety glasses in the entire place. Well, whatever. I rocked those safety glasses and the garden hose tour was everything I had hoped for and more.
The photo isn’t necessarily a bad photo. The composition is alright, but I don’t know who those Amish looking people are hiding behind the handicapped sign like we wouldn’t notice that they snuck in to be part of our garden hose tour. Whoever they are, they have to go. My brother likes pointing to the sky and second chances, well here you go, big bro. Here’s your second chance at being caught in the eye of a tornado storm.
I hope you enjoyed the first volume of the Before & Happily Ever After series. If you did, you have Steven Patrick Morrissey’s gloomy, depressing music and a fifth of Maker’s Mark whiskey to thank for that. Join me next time, as I retouch some old photos and add alien abductions, shark infested waters, and Hulk Hogan wrestling a chubby guy at a local wrestling match at the Moose Lodge. May you all live happily ever after until the next time.