“Growing up, the December holiday season was regularly marked by the production of our annual family Christmas photo,” says Oak Bay Coun. Tara Ney, noting this was “an era before selfies, Instagram, and definitely before Photoshop, and when the camera would only be carted out for special occasions.
“With 11 children to organize, scheduling the photographer and herding the family pets to the photo shoot site, the Sunday morning was hectic and rarely straightforward for my parents.
“Each year some family member would suggest the portrait theme: formal/informal, in the snow, at the beach, etc. On this particular year, it was my father who exclaimed, ‘Show up in a costume that says who you want to be when you grow up,’ and, being a salesman, he added, ‘and make sure your colours are bright!’” Ney recalls.
“I showed up in my red ski sweater with ski poles in hand, as my teenage aspiration was to be a down-hill ski racer, just like Nancy Greene.
“As it turned out, I took another path. And that’s OK. But as I reflect on my memory of the photo shoot and the image of my family captured in that moment, I reminisce, ‘What a wonderful bunch – everyone connected but still very much themselves.’
“On that day, my family documented and celebrated their freedom to ‘be who you are.’ I have shared this value with my own children and it will stay with me always.”