sandy cliffs stock photo

What is your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?

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Ooh, ooh, this is an easy one!

Back when Hipstamatic first launched, I was thoroughly obsessed with using the films and lenses. The novelty of using a smartphone to take aged photos was appealing. It still is but it used to be too.

I earned a beautiful 24 karat gold necklace from Disney Movie Rewards in 2012. That’s when I was obsessed with collecting physical media and had an active subscription there.

When it came in the mail, I was eager to play around with Hipstamatic. Thus my favorite photo that I’ve ever taken was born.

My Cinderella necklace, engraved with the words “a dream is a wish your heart makes.”

The pendant/locket was aged with a girly heart design painted in black on the front.

I don’t recall the lens/filter combo but I checked the metadata. This is what I pulled:

Hipstamatic 256
ƒ/3.0
1/15s

What I like the most about it is obviously the composition. I needed light so I laid it out under a lamp sitting on the side table that my parents bought when my Dad was stationed in Taiwan. I grew up with that furniture. It’s older than me!

One of my first tangible childhood memories was when Cinderella came out of the vault in 1987. My family had gone shopping, and they came back, handing me that oh so familiar white clamshell case. If you know, you know. I’d never had a piece of media ingrain itself as much as that movie did!

It taught me that sweetness and kindness aren’t always given back to you, even if that’s the vibe you put out. But you don’t let anyone dull your shine. You get dressed the fuck up, put on those sexy-ass shoes, and you go dance your little heart out. Oh, there’s a prince there? Even better!

I appreciate how they emphasized that Ella wanted one night out in the live-action version. She wasn’t going for the prince because she didn’t know Kit was The Prince. She figured she’d hang and go back to her shitty lot in life.

“A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” is an enduring song in the soundtrack of my mind. To have it on this necklace is such a beautiful reminder of my childhood.

I have to be careful when I wear the necklace though. The two pieces of the heart don’t connect but they share a hinge. If I jostle it too violently, it’s liable to come apart. There has been a moment when I lost the top part of the locket but didn’t realize it until the next day. Someone was looking out for me because I found it in my driveway! Whew.

This photo is the perfect representation of my childhood. The physical balance of the warmth of my Ma’s Oriental furniture and jade lamp against the gold necklace tinted with artificial age, and the lyric of a familiar song from one of my favorite movies of all time. It works on so many levels for me.

tree branch