|I’m Doing It, Grandma! (Memory)
Behind him, a bluegrass band plays foot-stomping, singable songs. Loudly. The assembled townsfolk sing along, eat, laugh, politick and enjoy family time. He doesn’t notice.
He dips the giant wand into the tray of bubble mixture, and waves the wand frantically.
Grandma hovers, and watches, awaiting tears. But he continues to experiment. A breeze sighs at the wand and a bubble starts to appear. The sigh abates, and the boy learns something. He slows down his movements, and concentrates on the wand. Rewarding his stillness, a bubble emerges.
He breathes, “I’m doing it.” His grandmother smiles, sits down and watches. Someday they will ask each other, “Do you remember the giant bubbles?” and this shared peace will touch them again.
So far no one is willing to go public with their Camouflage/Estimation exercise. But I did the exercise myself today. The image above is my second image. “Popped!”, below, is my first.
Our town has a wonderful Fourth of July family picnic, full of small-town joy, kitsch, and fun. An excellent street photography opportunity, I decided this would be a good day to work on my “decisive moments” skills.
(This phrase comes from French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who famously said: “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment”, and backed it up with an astounding body of work.)
Well, to be present for that decisive moment takes a certain kind of awareness —prescience, almost — and your camera technique needs to be up to snuff, too. So, I practice. And practice means I make mistakes. Tons of them. Like “Popped!”.
I happened to be sitting near the “bubble station”, so I thought I would try to capture the moment a bubble burst. (This is not as easy as it sounds when one is not using a motor drive, and focussing manually!)
If you enlarge the photograph above, you can see that I did capture that moment. The splash from the bubble is visible in front of the boy’s face. One large fragment of the bubble is falling to the left of the table. The other is still clinging to the wand.
But, for me, as a photograph, it fails. We do not see the boy’s expression, nor anyone else’s. His posture doesn’t tell us what happened. And even though the light limns every drop, until I pointed out the popped bubble I’ll bet few of you noticed it.
I choose to protect children’s privacy on the web, and this is not my child, so I didn’t want to show his face in this context. I started thinking in terms of “camouflage”. I imagined ways I could camouflage him: illustrate his play without showing his face.
I watched the grandmother.
This subtle shift in my attention allowed me to capture her love for the little boy in one of his bubbles, camouflaging her somewhat, too, but amplifying her emotion.
A softer, less-obvious “decisive moment” resulted, but one that speaks more legibly and with more meaning.
Your turn. I’ll keep the challenge up all month. I’d love to hear whether it makes a difference.
And watch for a new one, probably lnext week.
Thank you, again for reading, following, and sharing. I appreciate your support!