The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Photography

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A friend said she saw (in her mind’s eye) me doing photography, the same friend who said I should get a travel trailer and roam the country. Photography and travel are compatible. Writing, travel, and photography are compatible.

Everyone is a photographer now with their smartphones. It’s so convenient and easy. At Niagara Falls, a dedicated camera was rarely seen.

My favorite app— Instagram. I love posting photos and looking at them. Sometimes I put a title to my photo, but often I just let it speak for itself because I can’t seem to speak for it. There are some awesome amateur photographers posting with such discerning eyes on the world. There are professional photographers posting. There are photographers who specialize. There are those who use Instagram to sell stuff, including followers. It seems dishonest to salt your followers. I’m not sure exactly how they do it. Do they somehow put a suggestion out to people that they might like your stuff? Instagram already offers me suggestions based on my likes. Everybody thinks they know me. Perhaps it’s the best way to get your name out there. The more you have, the more you get. I don’t like to suggest we’re followers, but….if a lot of people follow you, then that suggests that they know something you should find out.

I don’t specialize in any one thing. My grandchildren are often subjects in my photos, although I have a private account for close-up photos of them. I do that because someone stole a Facebook photo of my son, daughter, and grandson to post a comment to a church-affiliated website about my son’s sentencing for his wrongful conviction. I was outraged that some cowardly fake person would use a photo of my innocent grandson and daughter in that way. Outraged, but not surprised, cowardly was apropos. So now my close-ups are for friends I think I can trust with the most precious.

If there is one thing that is most prevalent in my photos, it is graffiti and murals, street art that is both legal and illegal. It is not just on the street; it is on dumpsters; it is on traffic signs; it is on mailboxes; it is on lampposts; it is on sidewalks. Some of the best is on cars rolling on tracks, the traveling art show. It is personal. It is political. It is funny. It is advertising. It is a scream to be heard and seen. I may agree or disagree with the expressions.

My legs and car stop for graffiti; my car does U-turns (safe ones) in the street. If I was riding with someone else, my eyes would follow with regret as we passed by. When riding with my husband or daughter in the driver’s seat, they kept going as I pointed out graffiti. They did not understand my unspoken request. I should correct that because my daughter has actually taken me to graffiti now. She knows what I like, even if it’s not her thing.

I can’t draw. My son can; my step-children can. My step-granddaughter takes photographs. My brother-in-law was an amateur artist too, so I know this talent is on the Yockey side, whether it be maternal or paternal is unknown. My husband can’t draw, but he can visualize something he is building with an artist’s eye. I do not think I inherited great talent, although you can improve what may not be natural ability into a learned and practiced proficiency. Even talent needs to be nurtured and developed. So photography courses it is, to try to take me beyond the amateur.

I love to look at photographs. They draw me into memories or dreams. They take me into my writing. Some photos that I once liked, I can’t look at right now. Photographs are more than beautiful; they have power to take us away without leaving the room. One night while my daughter was in rehab, I lay in bed with my grandson looking at photos on my computer. I was clicking through videos from his first birthday party. He started to cry as he looked at the videos. In his wordless way, he was telling me that he missed his mother and father. I shut the computer. Photographs and videos have that effect on us.

 

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