I sat on the grass, quite far away.
When she picked it up I raised my camera.
She asked what it was while knitting her brow with concern and confusion. I said it was a sprinkler like it should be obvious to everyone and proceeded to tell her more than she needed to know about sprinklers before she said “stop”.
Without looking at me she said “it is an airplane” and who was I to argue. No one. What I thought it was became immaterial because she saw with the imagination of a child and I saw with the un-imagination of a grown-up.
The photograph above is one of my favorites.
Unusual Places are Perfect for Photo Stories
If you have ever taken children to a cemetery you know how strange it can seem to them. It is a place of unusual images and odd statues and a vast sea of names and dates on old stones.
These little boys came across this burial vault snugged into a hillside like a Hobbit House and closed with a most beautiful iron door. The children could not see into the room but their experience told them that where there is a door, there is a way to get inside.
Thus, knock first . . . which they did.
It was so novel and so unexpected that I stared and held my breath, fearing that the door would really open.
How grateful I was to snap this photograph. It, along with many others from this day at the cemetery are priceless to me. Almost every one tells a little story and that is what I am talking about.
All mothers will love this photograph.
It is a candid photograph of a mother and child who are just plain finished for the day. I especially love my daughter’s arms which are covered with finger paint and finger prints and the fatigue in her closed eyes.
This is what I mean when I say PHOTO STORIES. It is one of many that I took during the time we spent together in the backyard on one particular day on earth.
Everything we did you might say was ordinary but I have learned that nothing “ordinary” really is.
Andrew is trying to pick up a potato bug.
He made several attempts and finally got it and placed it carefully in his daddy’s hand where it opened up and tried to sneak away.
I learned by watching my own children years and years ago that potato bugs are made of steel and covered with armor and they, like cats, have nine lives or maybe more.
During the same outing with the potato bug Andrew learned how to spin the wheel on Grandma’s trike.
Convince me that you don’t remember doing this?
Within just a few quiet and unhurried minutes several photo stories began to develop. I could see them coming. Remember what I said. Don’t interrupt the action to get the attention of the characters in the story. That will ruin the moment. Be quiet. Adjust the lens. Anticipate what is coming next and snap away.
Not all stories have faces. Some stories have body parts.
During the summer we hang three hammocks between the pine trees in our back yard and they are usually in use from morning until evening when there are children around.
The years keep rushing by so that the little feet you see poking out are now bigger feet and three cousins won’t fit in one hammock any longer.
But, there was a time when they did and I was there.
There are many other photographs which I took in secret on this particular day. They come together to tell a story. This photo made a great cover for a tiny tale about three little boys and a hammock.
Have I given you some good examples of ways to look at ordinary things in extraordinary ways ?
Here is the challenge: take some photographs of something that you think is very ordinary and make the photos into a story that shows that the moment was anything but. (ordinary, that is)
That is all for this post. I will try one more page and then you are on your own.