Their Relationship with the Camera is not Adversarial


If you’ve flown into Chicago, you might have noticed these guys.  Jake and Elroy, the notorious “Blue Brothers” are casually leaning back in chairs, waiting to greet whomever meanders down the airport hallway.

Many of those travelers probably stop and do exactly what my daughter did in this photo, at my prompting, I might add.

But it was easy.  All I did was say, “Ry, strike a pose with the Blues Brothers!”  And she did.  But so would have her friends, or her sister, or her boyfriend. Or my son-in-law.  Their relationship with the camera is not adversarial.

In my generation, a camera was for waiting on.  It was for fiddling with.  It was for “only one shot, so we’d better get it right.”  A camera was for painstakingly dressing up, traveling to Olan Mills studio, being cajoled by a stranger, waiting for two weeks “till your proofs come in,” getting a sales pitch, then spending a tad more money than you had planned but, “Oh, to get that brush stroke finish!…”

Cameras are now easy.  They’re part of life.  When we recently went to Chicago, our family probably took collectively a thousand photos.  They’ll be reviewed, Tweeted, posted, altered with editing apps, sent to friends, and sometimes lost.  But cameras are as much a part of life as talking, laughing and crying.  They have become something more easy.

Am I easy about this easiness?  I’m not sure.  But when I look at this photo of my youngest, and think about our family trip and all the photos I took, I’m happy that the relationship was never adversarial.

In fact, her relationship with my camera…almost (not quite, but close) gets me over my conflicted relationship with others trying to photograph me.

Give me another ten years…I’ll get there.

5 responses to “Their Relationship with the Camera is not Adversarial

  1. It’s great to be able to shoot at will with no worries, sometimes I miss not having a second chance, it made a great photo much more of an accomplishment.

      • Thanks – I had not really thought about how easy it is now for the subject. I remember sitting in a photo studio with my family for what seemed like hours waiting for my baby brother to stop crying so we could get the shot for a family portrait. Photography is so much more spontaneous – I think overall that’s a good thing.

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