Pictures Tell a Thousand Words
I'm not a photographer. Frankly, I don't have the upper body strength. They haul all this gear, and run around, changing film, sweating, motioning me and my notepad out of their way. OUT OF THEIR WAY. OUT OF--HELLO? Earth to reporter. Oops, sorry.
I worked with a photographer who would climb on top of trash cans to get a good photo. He once shimmied up a football goalpost to take a picture.
When the newspaper came out, I'd just look at his photos and not read the story I wrote.
Pictures are more fun to look at than words, I think. In school, I wanted to be a photographer. My great aunt Kath gave me a book called The Family of Man. She'd always send kind of funny Christmas presents. That year, it was a how-to yoga book and other used books. I pulled that book out of the pile and would just stare at the photos: a girl playing the flute on the mountain, an audience of 1950s, small town people laughing their heads off. All sorts of stand alone photos. Now there's a new, similar book, The Spirit of Family, that my friend has, and I could look at it for hours. I could not, however, read a book for hours--without falling asleep.
But when I tried photography, the pictures didn't turn out like how things happened. So, as with every attempt to do something other than writing, it didn't work out.
So this week, I'm going to try to take pictures with words instead of film.
A picture of Richie today:
He's standing on a little chair in the kitchen, listening to the Sesame Street CD for the third time. He does NOT want me singing along to the Count's song while I do dishes. He's listening very carefully and watching the radio. Two Sesame Street books are open for his reference. He points to the characters in the song.
"That's grover. He can fly. And him is friends with Cookie Monster. They will fight the monster in the mirror and they will win because they're getting stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger.
"And him is Ernie's big brother who grew up to be a trashman. And their daddy is a trashman."
Richie has determined that all the blue monsters are friends and all the red monsters are related. Grover is the hero.
I used to do this same thing as a kid. Listen to records and stare at the album covers. Oliver! was my favorite. And I remember also thinking that Telly and Cookie monster were best friends because they were both blue. Does everyone do this, or this something Richie and I share because of our DNA?
It's funny the things you share with your family. Identical twins separated at birth will wind up having the same favorite movie. The same rosy outlook on life--despite upbringings that are not equally rosy. They'll even pick out the same shirt at a department store. And yet, meeting face to face, I'd challenge them to agree on anything.
You know what would be great about being a photographer? I wouldn't have to come up with an ending to stories before picking Johnny up at school in...35 seconds. The end.