Photographs & Romance

The social media selfie taking generation….Hating it! The fishy lip pouty mouths, shirtless mirror shots, posed, exposed and put through a million filters, only highlights the absurdity of a “look at me” generation. But, let’s be honest, they have more glam, style, make up and swag than we had in our youth..

They’re doing trend and style just…better, so if it weren’t for those ridiculous selfies, what would they have as the decades fly by to look back on with the hilarity of “what was I thinking?”, like the rest of us have? These will be for them as the hot pants with gogo’s boots, bell bottoms and platform shoes, mullets and the 80’s big hair days, are for us.

I enjoy recieving portraits of my family with posed pictures. These are nice to place in frames, see our loved ones faces smiling back at us but they aren’t my favorite.

My most favorite photos are the ones where the subject has no idea they are being taken. They are simply being themselves in the moment and it captures not only the moment but an essence of them, their personality, story, an aspect or facet of who they are. These leave you with the “feeling” of them, not just their likeness.

As for me, I don’t like to have my picture taken. I have always been this way I suppose as evidenced by the wretched look upon my face in my baby pictures. I’m not a poser, I don’t know how and the forced fake smile makes me feel plastic and I always have the strangest feeling that I don’t know what my face is doing! The remedy for my discomfort is to always be the person behind the camera lens.

My family hates that there are so few pictures of me, as though I’m not present in my own life but from time to time they catch me unaware and capture an image of my true self. My niece captured this photo when we’d taken her hiking at HaHa Tonka State Park.


This is me, on a cool autumn afternoon, in a baggy light sweater and canvas shoes, lost in solitude as though I’m alone in the world. It captures so much of who I am, especially out in nature, silent, reflective, at once a spectator and wholly a part of everything around me.

But this one, taken by my mother, is my favorite. The photo speaks volumes, about me and the dynamic between my husband and myself. I had to laugh when I saw it. It’s so perfectly us.


As I’m about to put away my purse, my head tilted to the side with a wistful expression. Clay standing near by, gazes on, smiling with a knowing amusement. I often catch him watching me unaware, his face portraying amusement, bemused, suppressed laughter or just a quiet look of love. If you follow my line of sight, you’ll understand his amusement at my wistfully loving gaze…..the romance between myself and the slab of chocolate cake on the table before me.

My love affair with chocolate began at a very early age at my grandmothers table. She made real fudge from scratch, boiled on the stove and beaten at the table for what seemed like hours until it was just right to set. She made the moistest, richest, chocolate cakes, whipping frosting by hand and giving me the spoon to lick.

For me, there is romance in a photo that captures the truth of a person, the loving look of another when no one is looking and rich, creamy chocolate.


Hershey’s chocolate cake

Butter, for the pans

2 cups granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans

3/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa

2 tablespoons instant espresso

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup mild vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

For the Hershey’s chocolate frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), melted

1 1/3 cups Hershey’s Cocoa

2 teaspoons instant espresso

3 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2/3 cup whole milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Generously butter and flour two 9-inch round baking pans, tapping out any excess flour.

In a large bowl stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center.

Crack the eggs into the well and pour in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Using a mixer, beat the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in the boiling water. The batter should appear to be thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.

Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, turn the cakes right side up, and let them cool completely.

To make the Hershey’s Chocolate Frosting

In a bowl, cream together the butter, cocoa, and espresso powder.

Alternately add part of the powdered sugar then some of the milk to the butter mixture, beating with a mixer after each addition. Continue adding the rest of the sugar and milk, alternating them, and beat until you achieve a thick but spreadable consistency.

If a thinner frosting is desired, add more milk, a little at a time, until you’ve achieved your ideal texture. Stir in the vanilla.

P.S. Ok, so this is also me…at walmart and the dynamic between us. Always with Love -Laura



©Laura M. Bailey, All the shoes I wear & writing down the Bones, 1990–Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Laura M. Bailey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Again, I notice the not so obvious. In the photo taken by your mother (the one you said is your favorite), I noticed all the wine glasses are empty. Could this be the secret to a lasting relationship between you and your husband? The ability to slam the libations and not end up fighting and stuff? 🙂


  2. A splendidly topical post. You are so right about social media photographs – at least we can try and forget we wore flares. 🙂 I am far more comfortable behind the camera so can identify with your shyness – however from what I can see you have nothing to worry about. I often photograph family events, including weddings, and I always plump for the unposed pictures. That one of your mother’s is so good – I would have been proud of it myself.


    • Thank you so much, Derrick! That is true, we can forget much of our youthful absurdity and the older I become, the easier that seems to be. However, their photographic evidence will forever be out there for the world. Hahaha
      I love how the unscripted photos, have such life and dimension. They’re more than frozen image. You experience the subject in that moment. 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not many photos of me as I am often behind the camera lol I like the photo of you hiking at HaHa Tonka State Park and Clay is priceless. Kim often catches me looking at her as well, more often in wonderment that someone so beautiful hangs around with me. mmmmm chocolate cake mmmmm x


  4. I think we tend to be our worst critics when we look at our own photos. It’s too bad we’re super critical of ourselves, but I think that is part of human nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your 2 photos! The amused look on Clay’s face makes me laugh, you can see his love there too. And yes who wouldn’t be in love with chocolate cake! Thanks for making me hungry! I agree about the unposed photos, love taking them! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do not like those fishy lipped pics either. My mom made fudge from scratch until Fantasy Fudge came about (made w marshmallow cream-I was about 10 or so I think). And that Hershey’s Cake sure looks good…and rich, too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wasn’t the old fashioned fudge the best?
      I made that cake for Clay’s birthday. He really only ever wants a chocolate cake which makes him every bit as much a chocolate lover as I am. Lol


  7. What a great post! I too love unposed family photos (as long as the background isn’t filled with junk). Those fake plastic-smile photos don’t even look good in frames imo. Professional photogs know how to get the good shots that don’t look posed, which I prefer over the “cheese!” ones. That cake shot… so perfect! But honestly I love the hiking one. It gives me such a sense of you. 💖


    • Awww…thank you, Paula!
      The unknown photo leaves you with the feeling of them not just their likeness, which I love so much. The cake, I made for my husbands birthday. Although he is so amused by my love of chocolate, in earnest, he is every bit as much a chocoholic as I am. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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