Saturday, November 18, 2006

a day outside myself

Thanks to my secret sister Melonie I had a photography gig yesterday on-campus. A state college hosted a carnival for kids and it was my job to take pictures that would later be shown in a slideshow during lunchtime.

Was I daunted? A little. I don't know that I've ever worked in that capacity before -- I remain dubious of my photography skills. I'm not Heidi, or Rick Lee -- two people I consider to be experts in the field.

Humble shoeshine girl shuffled off with a very nice (borrowed) Canon PowerShot A610 to do her level best.

I couldn't do it alone. I brought my tech support, Don, who transferred my shots (I think I took around 40) to his laptop and then burned onto a CD for Melonie. Because the really technical stuff is still way beyond me. I just point and shoot. Again, I'm not the expert.

Photography was one of those classes in art school that everyone said, If you're going to take it, be ready to spend some serious money -- it's expensive. And I didn't have serious money. I didn't even have frivolous money. I had imaginary money, which is a horse of a different color altogether. Anyway, though I've always been interested in it I've always operated at the periphery. I worked for a year in a graphics office, taking slides for art history classes. Mounting negatives. Et cetera.

But that's it.

To my surprise everyone seemed to really like the pictures. That's good -- I did too. I enjoyed swooping in from one booth to the next, randomly collecting the more sparkly fragments of a moment and moving on again.

I've thought, more than once, that part of the skill in being a photographer is knowing how to douse for light and color. The same apt timing of the fisherman as he plunges the net into the ocean and pulls up a bountiful catch. I don't have that quicksilver talent -- it's why I paint and draw, instead.

I do know that despite my strictly amateur status I enjoyed myself tremendously. The kids were great and they had a wonderful time. Melonie was there and working, so we didn't get to talk much, but she did a terrific job with the kids and I can tell she'll be an excellent teacher in the very near future.

It felt funny to be introducing myself all day as, "I'm the photographer," but at the same time, I really liked it. I almost wished I could do something like this all the time. But of course, I'm not qualified.

So this weekend I'll go back to writing lesson plans and working up new drawings -- I just wanted to thank Melonie, before I forget how it felt, for giving me the chance to stand outside myself, for a day, and letting me try out something new.

It was sublime.

p.s. Melonie writes about the day.