Sunday, April 20, 2008

put the camera down, ellen -

so my grandmother, ellen,
always had a camera on hand.


it seemed like every time you turned around, there she was, snapping away with the flashbulbs that took forever to recharge (you learned quickly how to HOLD a smile), with bags full of kodak ektachrome film, with polaroids. she was always documenting our every breath, even down to telling us to breathe heavier in the cold because the smoke looked pretty coming out of our mouths.

and my grandfather, bob, he was always saying: "PUT THE CAMERA DOWN, ELLEN!"

he just wanted her to sit next to him for a bit.

and we all groaned about it and made faces and begrudgingly gave in,
but in the end, she always had the satisfaction of that stack of pictures,
that stack of pictures that everyone HAD to have a copy of, HAD to see, HAD to look through.

nana knew.

i started taking pictures like she did years ago, obsessed with documenting what i could of our life, of getting it all down. part of it was just to have artistic shots of my young life, but it turned into (with the advent of digital and online sites) a form of ongoing narrative, a montage or a flipbook of events major and minor in my life, then tim's and my life.

hence, every time there is a mirror and good light:

or a shoulder turn and a sightline through the flashes:

or a pensive, and handsome, look to see what has just been captured:

i'm THERE, camera up:

now i'm not on the level of my friend, benjamin.

he's make nana proud.

but i try. and i'm lucky.

because tim never tells me to put the camera down.


Whiskeymarie said...

I know- my friends groan every time I take out the camera, but then they're always asking for the pictures.
Plus, I'm horribly narcissistic and just love pictures of me, me, ME!

CCC said...

Well told (!) -- great lil story about your nana. ;)

Michael said...

The stories of your family are always so sweetly told.

Oh, and your shoes in that last shot? Yes, please.

Kat said...

You and your nana are sweet. Keep writing.