It is no surprise to anyone that I like to “make” pictures. “Ma- king” pictures must be a colloquialism from Small Town Georgia in which I grew up. I never realized it didn’t quite make sense until someone decided to tease me about the expression in her best Southern accent. (Coming from a Yankee, it sounded more like…………….well, like a Yankee trying to sound Southern.) Before I hit double digits, I began snapping pictures from a genuine bulky Polaroid able to produce a whopping 10 pictures per cartridge right before my eyes-- a true wonder to watch at just eight years old. With the color just a little “off”, the images were of Buffy, my Siamese cat, my favorite dolls or my brother, Blake, playing Atari or watching TV. Then I graduated to the point and shoot camera that was much like the first generation of what we now know as “disposable cameras”. (C-110, maybe?) There were more pictures of my cat, pictures of my room, pictures of spend-the-night company, pictures of my parents who always looked surprised or irritated (and rightly so), and my brother doing “amazing” things, my favorite of which is when we set up the ladder on the basketball goal so I could take pictures of him “slam dunking” the ball. For my first C-110, I had to buy the flashes (flash bulbs) separately, know when to use them and, the hardest part, have them with me when I needed them. My second one, the deluxe model, had a built-in flash which, again, I had to know when to flip the switch and wait for the orange light to flicker the signal indicating it was ready to illuminate one of my all important subjects. Fortunately for me, Daddy’s drugstore had a developing service—you know, the kind where you fill out the information on the envelope, slip in your film cartridge to send it off and actually wait a couple of days or so to see your special images. The best days were those I had pictures to be picked up after school—delayed gratification at its best. I cringe thinking how much my parents must have spent on developing my really bad pictures.
When I entered 9th grade, our little church hired a new youth minister, who also LOVED to “make” pictures, but his were different than mine. Much better and in a whole different category. I began listening to him as he took pictures and watching him use his camera trying to figure out why his pictures were so much more eye-catching and interesting than mine. Just as I have learned to do a lot of other things, I started copying him. I quickly decided I needed a new camera. During my junior year of high school, after lots of wishing and hoping, I unwrapped a small black 35 mm Pentax with an automatic zoom AND flash for Christmas. It was by far my favorite gift and it served me well. I finished high school clicking away with that little boxy camera right on through my years at the University of Georgia from my “welcome party” given by my roommate to the traditional graduation pictures taken “under the arches” on Broad Street. That hard working Pentax took pictures of mine and Jeff's honeymoon and beyond ushering me right into the digital age of picture taking.
Enter children followed by a gazillion photos. I HAVE to say, thank goodness for digital photography. I OUGHT to be the best there is, considering how many times I have peered through the lens and pressed my right index finger down on the “magic” button. Magic? Yes—in every way. Like nothing else can, the camera can capture a moment squeezed in between making beds and pb&j's that otherwise would be forgotten, or a place no one wants to leave or an expression that tells the whole story or a certain someone that we wish we could stand next to with arm around more often or a season of our children that makes us want to glue the calendar pages down. Definitely magic.
I know my limitations. I have seen great photography and mine is not. I just happen to be somebody who likes to take pictures, to look through a lens and see the kids who walk down our stairs every morning or something else that makes me happy. I am not one that minds watching an entire morning or afternoon through the lens of a camera if it means getting a really great picture. Most of my pictures, no one will ever see except Jeff, me and the kids. However, every now and then, I capture something special with which to adorn the walls and surfaces of our home giving you no choice but to look at them. Most likely, in December, I send one to your house, but 99% of the results of my snapping habits are just for us and oh, what joy they bring to me!
For this novice, the secret is in the quantity. When I said a “gazillion” I meant it. My genius philosophy is that if you press the magic button enough times, you are bound to pull something really wonderful out of the hat.