Wednesday, March 09, 2005


It is nice to be seeing my project come to an end.

I have been thinking about it for many months now and while I can't honestly say that it has consumed most of my time, it has been a constant presence in a great deal of recent months. As deadlines approached, I did more work at home than I wish to do.

But I think it has paid off and that the end result is worthy of a feeling of satisfaction. It's not perfect, but not much in my business is and I am not willing to obsess enough to try and make it more perfect.

So, that leaves me here at the end of a day with some free time on my hands. So, I want to fiddle with some pictures that I recently took and post them.

I have always liked photography. I don't claim to be particularly skilled at it, but it is something that I aspire to improve upon. My dad is, in my opinion, a good amateur photographer. He has certainly taken many pictures over the years. I have many memories of our annual slide shows, where we sat down as a family and reviewed the trays of slides from when my parents were newlyweds in Kentucky, my dad with his Army Reserve haircut and my mom in her college-aged years. Then my brother MSquared as a young boy and other photos from those early married years.

Then came my other brother Muleskinner. By this time Mom and Dad had moved to Georgia. It was all basic family photos: in the back yard, beside the car, in the house doing stuff. All very normal and ordinary, but those photos took on a deeper and richer history over time and with each viewing. My family has a tendency to (in my opinion) invest a feeling of tradition in many of the things we do. There is a sense of ritual, but not meaningless ritual. Instead it is something that helps connect us together as a unit--even though we are all growing older and in some ways become less and less alike.

My sister MA came next. Interspersed with pictures of her as a baby were pictures of MSquared as a young boy and toddler Muleskinner. There were also pictures of other relatives and cousins visiting the house and holiday visits back to Kentucky. Pictures of the family dog and pictures of Georgia in the spring, azaleas and dogwoods blooming, late Sixties Easter clothing (pastels and striped pants).

Then came pictures of little me--never as many in proportion to the rest as I would often complain. But, oh well. There were the posed school pictures, all t-shirts and buck teeth. There were more pictures of everyone else, all a bit older and looking more and more like "themselves" as time goes on. The personalities became more real. Also Mom and Dad getting older, more adult and parental, more as I have always seen them in my minds eye. Pictures of them in Hawaiian leis during a business trip. Pictures of the childhood home that I remember, not the one that was lived in before MA and I came along, but the REAL house.

It seems like we watched these same slides every year. I don't' think I ever thought of it in the stereotypical way that sitcoms portray slide shows. I found it fun to put up the projector, turn off the lights, and hear the tray clack along its circular track. The projector always emitted that sound of the small fan blowing to cool off the bulb, blowing out hot air if you were sitting beside it or trying to coax the slide tray to move properly to the next picture. Inevitably there were slides sideways or upside down. Those were always fun.

Most of the slides were taken before I was born, so I always got a glimpse of family life before me or pictures of places Mom and Dad went without us--exotic business trips and other things like that. I don't take as many pictures as I think my dad did or others do. Sometimes I think about how these years will be remembered by my children. In this digital photo world, will there be a reliable record of their childhood? I hope so. I hope they can look back on some things and feel a sense of connectedness, a sense of family.

No comments: