Monday, February 18, 2013

Adding Chocolate to the Ritual, Part 5

And there he was. Elsa, lifted her camera, aimed it away from him, and looked through the lens. Then she adjusted some things, looked at the camera as if it weren't working just right and put it back onto her lap.

What she'd done was adjust the focus for something that was about the same distance away as he was. In the time she'd looked through the camera, she'd managed to adjust the light. She sat with the camera in her lap, casually looking at him through her eyelashes, her head tilted back as if to absorb the winter sun, and clicked the shutter multiple times. He was moving out of focus too fast, she thought. She shifted the camera setting to automatic, adjusted the direction of the lens, and took another dozen shots. It was exhilarating, this quiet way of catching things in action. The shots would look like a silent film when she went back to look at them.

'Thank God for digital,' she thought. She could take as many photos as she wanted and delete the bad ones. Dad's days of running through four rolls of film in a two-hour jaunt were over. Once he'd bought the Canon, the use of it was free. He had loved that camera.

She leaned her face toward the sun again, taking shots without even looking.

"Why are you taking pictures of that man and his dog?"

Elsa nearly jumped off the bench. She juggled Dad's camera for a minute before remembering she wore the long strap around her neck that kept it from falling. She looked at the interloper, the man who sat on the bench near her, and at the dog, the labradoodle she'd been focused on.

She waited before she answered him, still staring in the distance at the dog. This was a little bit too much silence, she thought. That might send him away, she thought, but it didn't. Then the big brown labradoodle dragged his owner toward a man wearing a suit and sniffed his shoes. Elsa went back to clicking the shutter. The suited man bent over to pet the dog and just then, he lifted his leg and peed all over the man's shoes.

"That's why," she said without looking at him.

Her interloper sitting on her bench laughed out loud, something between a snort and a bark. She liked the way this man laughed. She smiled quietly. She would let him sit on her bench a minute longer before she got up and walked away.

Thank you for listening, jb

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Adding Chocolate to the Ritual, Part 4

One Saturday, Elsa decided to take her Canon to the park instead of just using her iPhone. Sometimes she did that. The zoom lens was it's best attribute along with the camera's great resolution. As if it were her lunch hour, she sat at that same park bench quietly, the camera in her lap, waiting for the shot to come along.

"Wait and watch long enough, and the action will come to you," he'd said. He'd taught her to keep looking at the surface until she saw a ripple. He'd talked to her about how you could imagine what was under the surface.

Dad had been a photographer for the Valley Gazette and a fisherman. When he died two years ago, Elsa kept his camera among the flotsam that had been her parent's home. She hadn't kept much else of his. Mom had died a slow, agonizing death of cancer three years ago and it didn't surprise her when Dad, less than a year later, had fallen down dead of a heart attack in front of the open refrigerator door. Dad had been lost without Mom.

Elsa was an orphan.

Oh, at first, it was miserable, losing the two people who loved her most. And they did love her. Mom, a quiet woman with limp mousy brown hair had lovingly combed Elsa's chestnut hair before tying it into a pony tail and plopping a floppy hat on her head for school when she was in elementary school. She'd told Elsa that beauty might lie in her thick hair but that she should never underestimate her own quieter attributes, like her pale skin and gray eyes. Mom had said that people who could see past what seemed plain were the ones who were worth holding onto. She usually looked over at Dad at those times.

"She's just trying to tell you that you should wait for the man who can see past your makeup," Dad said. Then he laughed. "Or lack of it."

Mom didn't wear makeup. She didn't paint her nails. She didn't even 'dress up.' Elsa almost laughed out loud at the park bench when she thought of that, something Dad did to tease Mom and somehow tell her how much he loved her at the same time. The ripple on top of the water.

Thank you for listening, jules 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whose Art?

If I take a photograph of grafitti, who does it belong to?

I didn't paint this.

The original artist is nowhere to be found.

The work is rusted and chipped now, no longer what it once was.

The artist didn't own the bridge, the canvas on which their work was created.

Maybe these belong to you.

Thank you for looking, jb