Photo Stories: Train Your Brain

You have to train your brain to “see” photo stories.

You must never say “look at me and smile” or “scrunch together” or any other combination of words which force people to stop what they are doing and do something that is unnatural.

Let’s use the photograph above as an example of how to take photographs oriented towards Family History. The photos we take today may seem familiar and ordinary but in 20 years . . . not so. I promise.

You probably think that this is just a boring photograph of two boys eating pancakes. In reality it is the story of a milestone . . . a significant transition within one young man’s life.  It is a picture of an answer to a prayer. To many prayers.

Mr. Old Navy hoodie has spent his entire life allergic to eggs and dairy products. This means that every morsel of food that he ever ate had to be cleared by reading the finest print on the label. Every cake that another made for a birthday party had to be avoided in favor of a small version which his mother had to make just for him to take to the party so that he would be like the other kids.

He couldn’t go out to eat because there was nothing in a restaurant for him to eat and how fun do you think it would be to eat crackers with pizza sauce on them while everyone else ate real pizza?

Think about the milkshakes and chocolate milk and cookies with eggs and pasta with eggs and on and on.

Today, he ordered regular pancakes and ate every bite.

He had outgrown the allergies and de-sensitized himself through rigorous experimentation. He actually sat at the table with everyone else, picked up the menu and ordered exactly what he wanted and I thought I saw a tear slide down his mother’s cheek.

This is a story captured in one photograph. Be sure to write something down when you tell this kind of story.

There have been many Easters in our large yard celebrated by many grandchildren with plastic buckets.

Using what I call my “magic lens” I can stand at a distance and watch the stories. I have had to learn to keep quiet rather than calling out something like “show me the egg and smile”. That kind of behavior will kill a story in nothing flat. Learning to take photos during action is very important because most of the time in our lives we are moving towards an adventure or away from a danger.

Think about it.

Have you ever tried to figure out the date of an old photograph?

At first it seems impossible but if you look long enough you might surprise yourself.

I know the answers to this one but I had to learn the tricks about photos I didn’t take. I know that I am seeing three generations and the oldest of the three is a fisherman because he is wearing a long brimmed fishing hat. The houses are stucco with bar tile roofs and so I can conclude that the climate is warm. The trees are warm climate trees as well but many are not in leaf yet. Guessing the ages of the boys is just a guess but anyone who has been a parent can get pretty good at it. They look to be about two years apart and it is warm enough for bare feet. It must be a church parking lot because no one would draw things in a business parking lot and play four-square where cars might come driving through. The grandpa (assumed) and the father (assumed) are both agile so we might be able to guess at their ages or at least at the difference between them. We can also surmise that they are active people.

Of interest, we know that the photograph was taken at a time when people could take action shots which were not blurry. It has only been very recently that we could do that.

What have we here?  Another clue.

We have added a little girl. If we could see her brother’s shirt, we could nail the period of time. But, wait. What is on the older man’s shoes? Nike. I’ll bet we can find something on the Internet which will tell us when this kind of shoe was made. These must be siblings, two years apart. It seems that they all know how to play the game so they have played it before, likely in the same place.  If that assumption is true, then they will move their bare feet before the boy with his back to us drops the ball on their toes.

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