When I was born, one of my mother’s aunts (the one after whom I was named) began a photo album which she gave to me when I was 13. . . a very wise move, since by then I was all knobby knees, frizzy perms, braces, and terminal camera-shyness.
The album was a lovely idea.
The photos, all black and white, were taken in the days of boxy Brownie cameras and one-time usage flashbulbs which bubbled and popped and temporarily blinded a generation of startled babies.
I realized later that, although the album was full of photos, it wasn’t exactly a pictorial diary of my childhood. My aunt lived in another town, so the occasions that she visited and remembered to bring her camera weren’t that frequent. A dozen or so photos of me as a baby show me in a sunsuit lying on a blanket on the front porch, along with another dozen or so of me as a toddler in a snowsuit. A couple of pages were full of my cousin Margaret and me about 3 or 4, wearing the same plaid dresses in every picture. After that, it skipped to a spring when I was 7 or 8. I can tell that it was Easter by the corsage pinned to my jacket (which was called a “topper”) and my sporty white tam.
Welcome to the pre-digital camera age.
I got through childhood in four outfits.
When Dearly Beloved and I bought an expensive 35mm camera, digital cameras were already becoming popular, but we were purists. Besides, DB was mightily impressed that big green camera case on a strap around his neck made him look so official that a press pass would have been superfluous. He assumed the role of Photographer Pompous Presidentus.
He bought a magnifying lens after an impressive demonstration by the sales clerk allowed him to read the Do not leave child unattended warning on a shopping cart left in the back of the parking lot across from the store. I doubt that the lens cap was ever removed from that sucker.
Nevertheless, DB’s photography sessions mimicked my aunt’s except that his rarely included people. The envelope of photos he’d probably have called Cardinal, would have been more aptly identified as Red Dot on a Branch.
The camera broke, the manufacturer went out of business, and we bought a Point and Shoot in which DB has absolutely no interest. BUT, even though he protested when Good Egg Son gave him an iPhone for his birthday, he has surprised us by becoming an iPhone Fiend, regularly e-mailing pictures, especially to our kids.
Many are taken while walking on the beach. He called this one Mother and Daughter in the subject line of his e-mail and included a note that he’d asked the woman’s permission before he snapped it.
Slacker explained the marijuana haze just ahead of him as he walked back to his car.
DB is merciless about sending pictures of sailboats and ocean waves to our son and SIL’s… during their working hours, of course. They’re clearly recognizable as boats, not dots on the sea. This one looks like an oil canvas to me.
Here’s my current favorite. He took it a couple of weeks ago, looking out the sunroom windows. He thought of it as Reflections.
Thinking back to that red dot on the branch, I’d call it Enlightened.
I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.
How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?