Thursday, February 9, 2012

I see life ...

....  through the lens of my camera.

At one point, I took a picture of a stressful event taking place in front of me.  I could not leave.  I was trapped.  This stressful event happened on a regular basis.  No one would hear my words; my words were ignored.  This time, I snapped.  Literally.  Not in words.  Not in vindictive comments.  Not in verbal or physical abuse.  Not in confrontation.

I snapped a picture of the stressful event on my cell phone.

Probably not the wisest decision in the world; as the result proved.  I got in trouble. Big time trouble.  The picture was never seen.  Never exposed to anyone.  There was no empirical proof that it even existed.  Yet I got into trouble anyway.  I was severely reprimanded.  The event immortalized for posterity (or at least for a year) in my personnel folder.

The question was asked:  "Why did you take the picture?"


If you need to ask the why question, look at my previous blogs.  Full of pictures.  Pictures which not only help tell a tale, but tell a tale in and of themselves.  I see life through the lens of a camera.  I experience life through that lens.  I am happiest when I am out somewhere, busily snapping away.

 I must confess.  I come by this abnormality honestly through genetics - passed on by generations of amateur photographers:  my grandfather; my father; an Uncle.  My grandchildren are likewise affected with this disease showing signs of great promise at young ages.

My grandfather captured moments in time through his black and white photographs of the Lusitania in New York City harbour (obviously before the Germans sunk it); a ticker tape parade through the streets of NYC.  My father and uncle captured the history of their families.  Moments captured in time which still live on through the perspective of the lens.

My grandfather had no idea he was taking an historic picture when he snapped a shot of the Lusitania that day in New York City harbour.  He was simply indulging in his passion.

Later in life, he took hundreds of pictures of the construction of Wake Forest University in North Carolina from ground breaking to completion.  The result being the Lloyd Winchell Biebigheiser Collection donated by family members to the university, viewable on line through the Wake Forest University web site.  I've put a link to the first 20 pictures in the collection.  Agan, I doubt he was aware of the impact those photos would have many years after his death.  To people he had never met, would never meet.  He had no idea of the value of those photos to future generations.  He simply followed his instincts, his passion.  He worked for a living; he lived for photography.

I love the delights in the advances of photography with digital cameras.  Optical and digital zoom.  No longer does one have to be a professional to get good shots.  No longer do young children have to bear the agony of squinting into the glaring sun while the father holds the light meter up to get just that perfect aperture opening.  No longer (hopefully) do fathers hear their children violently protesting when they lined up for that perfect shot and the dreaded torture instrument, the light meter, is pulled out.  (Do my readers even know what a light meter is?  Have any of you experienced one at first hand?)  No longer will priceless, one time, never to be repeated photos be lost forever because the photo lab ruined them.  No longer do people have to carefully pick and choose what they are going to photograph.  Digital photography allows us to snap away.  Over and over.  Recording the moment or a series of the moment for posterity.  For family history.

What do the pictures on the right tell you?  Do you see a story in them?  They are all taken of one outing - most on the same day.  Following a road.  A road to a specific destination.  But a road with many unexpected delights awaiting the travellers, Mama and Papa Bear, on the way there.

This is how I see my world:  through the lens of my camera.  How do you see your world?

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