Monday, August 16, 2010

Photographic Memory Making

Yesterday we went to Strathmore to celebrate David's birthday. He wanted to have a memorable day, so thankfully, I remembered to bring my camera along. My pictures sort of hit and missed. A couple were great, but most are not. It's always tough to get the right moment without too much posing or pausing, and then there's light and focus... oh I have so much to learn.
I love this first picture. My three men. Donovan is beeming (which is hard to capture, David and Weston have exactly the same expression so the resemblance is crystal clear, and there's this funny smudge on my lens that makes Weston have this old age actress haze. It makes me laugh because he's not the one who needs it.
Not that I mind Dave's age, mind you. I really don't. It 's really more mine that I'm having trouble embracing. My middle is spreading and I don't work hard enough to stop it. Pictures of myself these days startle me with their unbiased view. I actually see myself as prettier and fit looking out from behind my eyes. Ha. I think that might be better than thinking of myself as worse anyway. -- But then that reminds of that great Stan Rogers song "Lies" where the woman grows old and laughs at how the mirror tells her lies. What a great image.
This next picture of David with his Bono shades almost scares me. I don't quite recognize him. But it reminds of the necessary stop to pull out the bat and gloves we had packed "just in case", even though it made us late for the gathering back in Rosebud. [I almost wrote "Chemainus" cause that's what my head was saying. Strange. I still get these two small communities mixed up when it comes to naming them. Probably because of our recent visit with Anita (who I kept wanting to call Renita- oh my, I need to remember which community I'm in!) Family photos around a restaurant table are never flattering. Especially the food, and especially when you've just gone swimming and the light is harsh. Nonetheless, the memories are better and this shot will still trigger the whole day for us.
Dave's sparkler/cake moment is great, but in the darkness my camera didn't know what to do and it's terribly grainy. (I never got to finish Randall's photography class.)
Now this picture of Weston and Donovan on the caboose is priceless. Rarely do I get a genuine smile of Weston. He usually sees through the camera (which is pretty breathtaking), but when he smiles it's often a big toothy manic grin like Calvin in the comic strips. This one is great.
The picture of the Canadian flag wound round the pole in the midst of seaguls flocking above, the sun is so starred is seems fake. More like the typical star of Bethlehem. Maybe the wisemen were looking through a lens like mine.
These last five pictures are a strange sequence of missed moments. I'm always the one behind the camera, so I thought I'd get the whole picture of the beautiful meal, guests, family, new placemats and turquoise napkins with the timer. Living on the stove and then the cupboard, and then I forgot to push the timer button, and not once did I capture the beautiful table or the best of all the people in it... but it doesn't change the fact that the food and the occasion were important and festive. I especially like the desperate smile and my chin in the surprise one! Ha Ha.
Look at Wojtek-- such the calm European. I think maybe only Americans grew up trained to smile and say cheese every time a picture happened, and we never questioned it. If a picture was being taken to capture a moment you were supposed to hold a stuck smile until the flash ended. Period. Now I realize some of the best photos are far more relaxed than that.
This dinner was in honor of Wojtek. He helped us earlier this spring by drafting some original graphics of our house addition ideas, and we finally got around to thanking him.
So even though the pictures don't capture the emotional connections I have, or even the mental pictures I carry with me, in time they will be the triggers for those memories and images and eventually will establish themselves as the mental picture years from now. Powerful things, pictures. Almost as powerful as movies. For sometimes they contain a whole story within the stillness.

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