So, not long ago, I posted a couple of lists of things I do not allow myself to do, and among them was to carry my camera around more. Like, uh, ever. And so today, I was reading chapter 8 of The Artist’s Way and I thought I was going one way and then, midway through the tasks at the end of the chapter, actually more like on the next to last question, and I realized I was talking about the WRONG THING. I was looking at the tangent and not the big picture. Haha, picture. Because, see, I was looking at the words portion of the picture and then I realized that the PICTURE part of the picture is equally important to me. The PICTURE is the trigger for the stories; it’s the thing that allows me to focus and hear the voice that knows all the stories so I can re-tell them to you.
And the funny thing is that for the past two years I have started the Project 365 and I have let real life come between me and the picture taking. I hung in longer this year than last year, but the point remains, I bailed on myself again this year. I told myself I was bailing on YOU GUYS, but the truth is, I bailed on ME. You guys may like to hear the stories, but I actually NEED to tell them. So.
Next year, I will start again on Project 365. And in the meantime, I am going to buy a little camera case that fits in my pocketbook so I can take my camera with me everywhere I go and I am going to allow myself to take pictures of anything. And everything. Without editing pre-shot, without deciding it’s too ridiculous to push the shutter button.
It is the picture that concretes the memory for me. And if I sit and think about that, I know it started with the first real picture I ever took, back in 7th grade in a photography class. It was a Polaroid of my teacher. Do you remember Polaroids? The teacher was named Ms. Seagraves, and she taught the gifted and talented program at my middle school and also the high school. She’d arranged for one of her high school students to come teach us the rudiments of photography, and my mom lent me her camera for the purpose. 10 shots per film box. I haven’t laid my eyes on that picture in years, but I can see it now just as clear as anything. She was sitting on a bench, wearing black pants and a wine colored shirt, smiling, with curly brown hair. She argued with me about letting me take a picture of her. But that woman, along with my chorus teacher were the ones who inspired me to dream and achieve. They were the ones who told me I could. And the criticism I got for the picture was fair: get in closer, Ms. Seagraves in important, but the bench is not. And I learned from that. Maybe those words lead to my passion for up-close photos. If I really want your picture, and not the things around you, I will fill the frame with your face. Or your hands. I will fill my frame with you.
I used that same camera to take pictures of my dad laid out in his funeral suit, he whose face I had not seen in years. I saw those not to long ago, poking around in my old childhood closet. I put them back in the box and left them there. I am not yet ready to explore that, no more ready than I am to try to build a hotrod from ordered Ferrari parts and duct tape. Maybe one day, but not this day.