Word and Image

Archive for February, 2019

The only girl

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Jules was born and there were no boys in her generation on my side of the family. After that there were no more girls. My brothers both had sons to follow. Who was the lucky one? Now it has begun again. No one keeps track. Besides, what can you do? She’s having a girl. And then….


Gardening in Manhattan

I have been successful in the past. I remember it being lusher. The flowers were more robust. Is it my imagination or my memory? What hasn’t worked in Delaware is begonias, alyssum, and geraniums. Maybe it’s poor stock at Home Depot. Looking back, I am puzzled. The same principles do not apply and did not follow me. Same sun, same technique, different result. It remains a work in progress. Once upon a time I had quite a garden in the heart of Manhattan.


Toss up

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No children were harmed… I did the throw. The mother shot the slide. I guess there’s plenty of guilt to go around. I play spin the cat. (imagine). And I have done spin the dog. Kids like to be rough housed. They like getting tickled and chased. I let them get away. The sobering moment is when you realize they are running away and you can no longer catch them.


Why

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So, why photography? Technical? Science? Documentation and photojournalism. I was struck by the desire to document life in my family. I was not too good at doing so. I have sporadic pictures from my own childhood. My kids have a fairly comprehensive documentation of theirs. I hope they will document their own families. I was pretty good doing their childhood. I got a whole lot better. Lately, I’m the one who shoots the family photos at gatherings. I can’t be everywhere. And I still see lots of mediocre shots get passed around. Hell, I take a great number of them myself. But when I’m good, I am. And there are shots for the ages in and among my work. I’m better than I was and not as good as I will be someday.


Early Slide

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The first camera I used was an Argus C3. Not a single useable picture resulted. The first camera I owned was a Kodak Instamatic 100. Yup, the first Instamatic model. It was pretty foolproof. Almost, not quite. The next real camera came in my freshman year of college – an Exakta. I lusted for a Nikon but settled on the Exakta at the recommendation of Chih Ming Pang (a long story). My Nikon was the FTn. Great camera, I was off into photography. SLR cameras dominated from then on. I made my way up the Nikon line buying as they improved. The biggest difference in a better camera – a higher percentage of usable pictures. The subject was exposed properly and in focus. This was a long long way from usable photography. I shot parsimoniously. Film was expensive as was developing. I eventually took about 40 rolls on a two-week trip. 1440 slides. I can shoot over 1000 digital images in a day. Needless to say, my development (photo education) was quite limited until digital came along. I’m still evolving and reinventing myself. Techniques don’t change that much. But for the first-time cameras are beginning to be able to keep up with my vision. Not always but more and more. I can shoot the moon and I can almost shoot the stars. I would have been pretty impossible for me to shoot the stars with film. Photography is only about 200 years old. We are a long way from box cameras.

What have I missed? I don’t have any of the Instamatic pictures. I have but don’t have access to the black and white negatives I shot and developed. Otherwise, the database I maintain dates to the ’70’s. The pictures of first twenty years of my life are scattered all around. I can lay my hands on about one early Christmas picture of me. As to my kids, their birth to present day is on my hard drives. I confess that tracking down everything is near to impossible.


Cigar

I don’t really want one. I don’t smoke them. The location Runaround Pond. The occasion – none. How did I get this one? …haven’t a clue. Why? It seemed like a good idea. I don’t inhale. Ha! Maybe it was a Cuban? Doubt it. The photograph is all the memory I have. I remember the setting. The circumstances are lost forever. There was a certain degree of pleasure in just taking the time to smell the roses. I would tell Colleen I want a cigar. It’s just a joke. I would never really smoke one. ??


Oooops!

Open mouth, insert foot. As a physician/surgeon I saw a lot of patients and their families. As a surgeon, who doesn’t need to know, never ask if a family member is pregnant though she may look very much so. Don’t ask when they are due. Do not congratulate them. Odds are, you are correct. And then, once in a while you are mistaken. “I’m not pregnant.” Yup, ooops!

It’s like it never happened. This belly dancing class was giving a demonstration in Maine. Yup, Maine. Do I remember? Yes, I remember the demonstration but not the particulars to any of the participants. Congratulations! The kid must be near ten by now.