Pictures Last Longer

Growing up, I never liked to get my picture taken. Even now, I’d much rather be behind the camera. I’d venture to guess that if you ask to see a photo of me between the ages of 2 and 5, I’d be crying. In one memorable case, I’m crying and reaching off the table for my gma. And that’s the one my parents bought because there wasn’t going to be a better option. I took a good kindergarten picture, but it was mostly downhill after that school picture-wise too. Too much pressure. Too much attention.

Somewhere along the line, tho, I began to love working the camera. I’m pretty sure the Polaroid instant my mom had was probably involved. Nobody can deny how magical those things were/are. And hers had the flash attachment. So exciting. I think it popped and sparked and everything. I wish she had kept it so I could have it.

I remember having my own 110 camera and then I probably upgraded to the equivalent of a Vivitar.

My first year of college I took a photography course where I learned to use the dark room. I LOVED the dark room. I loved black and white photography. My parents bought me a manual 35mm. I was hooked.

To pay my way through school, I worked as a photographer for Sears Portrait Studio. For every kid puking or toddler running away screaming mid-shot, there were some real gems in there. Moments captured that at times had me jumping up and down in excitement right next to the moms.

Then for a while I was the assistant to a photographer in one of the posher Chicago suburbs. Although it was more my experience with kids and not cameras that proved useful with that gig.

In my first year out of college, I was the sole editor for what was then called the Warren County Journal outside of St. Louis. As such, I wrote every article – and took all of the corresponding pictures – for the weekly newspaper.

Around that time I also – for my younger sister – tried my hand at wedding photography, although I would never do that again.

In the years since, the digital camera age has made everything so much more awesome. First and foremost, traveling. Remember traveling with rolls of film and being somewhere and having a finite number of pictures you could take? The horror!

That being said, I miss those dark room days and I still dream of one day having my own.

I love capturing moments and expressions and things that other people might not focus on. And while I sometimes take posed pictures, I definitely prefer candid shots.

So it was without hesitation that once I found out about a local exhibit of  Vivian Maier prints, I had to see it. I learned about her from this news story, which is definitely worth a watch:

I love what she says at the end about the wheel of life…It kinda reminds me of the sentiments of the quote: 100 years from now, all new people.

And oh what I’d give to be able to have found that Rolleiflex. The one he pulled from the box seems so pristine! I’ve been looking for a good deal on one for years. They’re crazy expensive on ebay, and when it comes to the ones at flea markets, you can’t be sure of their working condition. But seeing this exhibit has lit a fire to get serious about getting one of my very own. (And not the digital version.)

Loving black and white photography based on kids and normal, everyday life as much as I do, you can imagine how much I enjoy her collection. (Some of which can also be seen in this book.)

This is one of my faves.

Something about the way he’s looking at her. And the glasses. And the coonskin cap. I kept coming back to it. I assume he’s digging in the dirt with whatever that is in his hand, but can’t figure out why the car door is open. Is he playing instead of getting in the car? Is someone yelling at him to get in the car and Vivian happened to be there to catch his quiet protest? So many possibilities. Probably 1000 words worth.

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