Photography was nothing new to me. I took my first published news picture when I was in third grade, and was getting regularly published by the time I turned 13, the year I started winning photography awards. This isn’t to brag — most people were shooting their Instamatics, while I had been given a Yashica A twin-lens camera for Christmas when I was eight years old. So I had some experience.
This is written as, on the other side of the wall, the generator is roaring away. Fortunately the wall is thick enough and well enough insulated that the sound is not as irritating as you’d expect.
I look at it every year and every year it looks a little different from how it looked the year before.
“Beware the ides of March.” So said the soothsayer to Julius Caesar. The date was known to Caesar and every Roman because it, today, March 15, was the official day for settling debts. Which I suppose some of Caesar’s colleagues thought they were doing when on that date in 44 B.C. they multifariously perforated him with knives, rendering him dead.
Many is the time I’ve cooked up a high-concept proposal to get an editor to let me do something I wanted to do anyway. I would not accuse Amy Gibas of this, but something in me kind of hopes that her masters degree research proposal had something to do with a desire to have fun with balloons. About which she was nothing if not passionate.
There’s a tremendous reward in learning local history. I say this as one who vigorously avoided learning any history of the area where I grew up, in central Missouri. I have great affection for the kind of people who won’t let local historical questions rest. They have to learn the answers to those questions. I have tendencies in that direction, too, though my laziness threshold is high and I’ll go looking only if the questions hold the potential of having really interesting answers.
I’ve never lost the excitement of snow days. Remember anxiously anticipating the moment when school was called off thanks to that wonderful, fluffy white ice of freedom? Though “inclement weather” may do little to change my obligations now that class schedules are a distant memory, there’s still nothing like the feeling of being snowed in.
There used to be a joke — well, we said it was a joke — among photographers: when shooting family groups and weddings, put the inlaws at the ends of the line of people. It would then be easier to crop them from the picture if things didn’t work out.
Once per generation, it seems, those who have any money at all go berserk and, soon thereafter, bankrupt. It happened in 2000, plus or minus about three years, and it’s happening again now.
Something I’ve long hoped would become a family tradition may have finally begun to sprout. It goes back nearly 20 years. That was when one cold and lonely winter night I happened on a broadcast, on one of the cartoon channels, of “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol.” Much to my surprise, I remembered all the words from all the songs. It had premiered in 1962 and was broadcast each year afterwards until it wasn’t anymore. It was wonderful and, as I realized as I sat there in my Connecticut home with tears in my eyes, still is.