Monday, September 2, 2013

When life sucks

We all have had one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right. It has been like that for my wife and I for the last couple of weeks. I won't get into what has happened but, to put some salve on the wounds, I went back to look at some of my older film images. In fact, these images are over 30 years old. I had been out of the Navy (an old submarine sailor) just a couple of years and my wife, three kids, and I were on vacation at Kings Dominion theme park in Richmond, VA. These four images brought a lot of memories flooding back and put a smile on my face. This is back when my wife and I were still adjusting to civilian life (and her having to put up with me ALL the time!) and the kids still minded us and thought we were OK parents. The first three images are of my kids in one of those bins fill with plastic balls that kids dive under and hide from each other as they play "Marco Polo." The kids really were having as much fun as it appears in the images. The fourth image is of my wife and, yes, the t-shirt does say "When God Created Man, She Was Only Joking!" It was a t-shirt she had found in a shop on St. Thomas, USVI, on our first Caribbean cruise. Sad to say, the shirt has been lost (or, at least, that is my story and I am sticking to it.).
But the thing about these images and what they have been doing to get me out of my depressed state of mind is what I think photography can do for people. Just think about it. Haven't you ever been a little down only to come across an old photo that brings back such quick memories that all you can do is smile? With today's media centering more on shock value for their images, we sometimes lose the great 'slice of life' memories that are taken every day. I love the work of Doisneau, Ronis, Erwitt, Evans, and the like. And the recent rise of the images of Vivian Maier. Images that show ordinary people going about ordinary lives like most of us today. Images that tell the real story of civilization as the philosopher Will Durant espoused in his books. Having what are common, everyday "snapshots" that mean the world to us. My youngest son (image #3) and daughter (the oldest of my kids) are grown and have their own children. My first-born son (image #2) sadly was killed in a single car accident at the age of 19 - a promising life shortened by tragedy. My wife? What can I say about the woman who has taken care of me for almost 45 years? She is an absolutely amazing woman. She took care of house and home for the eight years we were in the Navy and I was spending months at sea. Each time I came home, it was like being on a honeymoon. Now, after many years of ups and downs, she keeps me ticking even though I am still her biggest "kid"!
So, if you are ever feeling down, look through some of your old photographs and remember the good times. It may dispel that dark cloud over your head and bring a little sunshine into your life.
Now, on to today's images. Like I said, these images are from over 30 years ago. None of my kids had become teenagers at this point so they still thought their parents had a brain. I remember the kids just having a ball with other kids in that huge bin. They would jump into the balls and move around underneath, hidden from view, only to leap up and try to scare someone. And my wife and her t-shirt (she is in the background in image #4). She really enjoyed some of the looks she got and the comments that were made. Oh, and for the gear heads out there, these images were all shot with that first camera my bride got me - an Olympus OM-10 and Zuiko 1,8/50mm lens.

But I have one picture in my mind that I did not take for some reason.
One of our kids had won this huge stuffed dog. I mean the thing was as big as either of my sons at the time. But we were in a 1974 VW Bug! What to do? Fortunately, the Bug had a sunroof. So we drove a couple of hours from Richmond back to Manassa, VA, on Interstate-95 with this stuffed dog's head sticking out of the sunroof at 70mph (approximately 112 kph for our European brothers). We had to have been quite a sight rolling down the road.
As I sit here listening to The Piano Guys (google them and enjoy their brand of music!), I realize that photography is truly visual music and can lift one's spirits to the heavens. Well, that it is for today's post.
And, as always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....


  1. Wow, Rich! What wonderful shots! The ones of Jeanine, Scott, and Chris are a perfect triptych. Love the one of Joyce and her shirt, too! Yes, the power of photography is immeasurable in so many ways.... Each one has touched my heart, too. Thank you, dear BIL!

  2. Thanks, Linda Sue. Thanks for stopping by when y'all were in the area!