As talks with our book's agent heat up and queries are made, I find myself wistful about this photographic odyssey. I spent years on an Amish project, even more time taking pictures of women and the things they carry in their bras, purses, pants, pockets, and hands, as well as several years with talented ephemeral artists. I love being a photographer.
One of the reasons I take pictures is to keep what I am photographing with me forever. I know this is childish, but I have this crazy idea from losing my Dad when I was three. His photographs breathed, gave him immortality. I started to love Aunt Ruth with my camera in response to my oldest sister moving away from me. It was really that simple. I couldn't lose anyone else who watched over me. I needed to get close to the last of my family's elders who lived in my city. I picked up my camera...instant intimacy.
This picture was taken at Aunt Ruth's 92nd birthday party. I don't think she ever really thought my pictures would turn into a book, but she never laughed at me. She did what elders are supposed to do. She supported my idea, praised the progress, and told me I was great. She loves me unconditionally.
And, so far, I was right about taking pictures. She is still with me.
Photography is magic! Aunt Ruth and I say, "Go take some pictures!" Print them. As Aunt Ruth says, "Pictures are the show-and-tell of your life." Perhaps, you have an older relative whose story you haven't heard yet. If so, load the film, insert the memory card, and remember to listen!