Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am going to try my hand at photography.  I have been dabbling at it for awhile. My Cool Mom (CM) bought me a really awesome camera a while back and I use it all the time to capture snap shots of the family. I have recently developed this desire to take it up a notch. Take some photos that might really be considered art. Instead of bustling around (trying to avoid getting photographed) I want to be the one behind the camera, cataloging events as they happen. Along the way, maybe I will produce something worth framing and hanging on the wall.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That isn't always the case. I have seen lots of pictures that left me questioning, "What the heck is THIS?" or "Why on earth did they decide to capture (and share) something like THAT?" Then there are the photos that DO say a thousand words, or at maybe just a few important ones. I would love to take pictures that evoke an emotion and give the viewer the same feelings I felt when I took it. I got a huge compliment from CM today. She told me that one of my photos made her want to walk right into it. That gave me the same feeling I get when someone tells me that my writing inspires or uplifts them.

I saw a photography exhibit at the DMA a few years back. I don't remember exactly who was displayed, but I remember at least one who was a fellow Texan. The subject matter she chose was usually landscapes of small towns or of highway crossroads. At first, I was a bit confused. Other than being black and white, I didn't see anything especially moving about any of the photography. I always felt that photographs with buildings and roads are simply not as pretty as flowers or trees. Nature is beautiful to me and technology (while desirable and often attractive) is not. It took me awhile of staring at this collection before I finally 'got it." Finally, I SAW what she wanted me to see. It wasn't immediately apparent or especially breathtaking, but nonetheless, it was there - the way an image of a crossroads evokes the feeling of a decision waiting to be made, or a closed down gas station gives feelings of nostalgia.

I don't really think architecture is my thing, but I can understand how someone might find it inspirational. Nature, specifically flowers, is more what I am interested in capturing. Flowers on the bush are beautiful for only a short time before they whither and release the seeds they are protecting. It isn't sad to me that their beauty is fleeting because they are part of the life-giving cycle of the seasons. Still, to be able to look back at that flower in middle of winter, and see it exactly how it was in the sun on a summer afternoon, now that is something I would like to see.

In the same vein, I think a picture of a child is especially beautiful when they are caught off guard or when they think no one is looking. There is a difference, though, between a simple snap shot and a beautiful photograph of a child laughing at bubbles. I am striving to make that difference apparent. I want to be able to capture LH in her moment of pre-teen angst, or TD as she whizzes past, or even EG in one of her overly serious moods. I want so badly to take down every moment of their childhood so I can look back and remember each smile, tear, scream, and giggle.

It occurs to me that my new fascination with photography might have something to do with the illness I have been fighting. For one thing, when I am in pain or asleep, I miss out on what is going on around me. I have lost six years to naps, oversleeping, or simply lying alone in the dark. That is six years of missing memories that I should have. For another thing, the medications I have taken, and still take, have ruined part of my short term memory. I can remember big things, but not always the details. Some times I remember details of things, but I can't remember of what. If it weren't for my constantly writing down lists and appointments, I believe I would be completely useless sometimes. I hope to soon be rid of the meds and their side effects, but until I can safely do that, I am stuck wishing I could remember just what I had for breakfast.

I feel like I missed out on a major part of my children, and my husband's lives. Even though I was physically there, I can't say I was an active part, and I certainly don't remember much of it. If only I had been able to capture it and file it away somewhere. Maybe I might remember more clearly the rolls on their chubby little legs or the mess they made with leggos. I do have many pictures already. DH was always very good at remembering the camera and capturing the good moments. We have the screen saver on the family computer set to cycle through all the family photos. Whenever he steps away from the keyboard for a moment, I am  blessed with the faces of my family from every event we've ever had. The only issue I have is that they are HIS visions, HIS versions of what happened. When you take a photo yourself, it becomes YOUR memory and you remember things the way you saw them at that moment. I want my own catalog of events. Memories frozen the way I saw them and felt them. 

I have decided to join the 365 Project where you post a photograph every day for a year. I think it would be wonderful to have a picture to commemorate every day of my life. I also think the habit of taking pictures daily will help to inspire creativity and expand my field of vision. Maybe I will be able to look back and see a progression of talent or at least of skill. I am sure I will be able to look back and recall something I wasn't able to before. With the kind of year I am planning on having, a documentation of the days is probably a pretty good thing to have.

Right now I am two weeks into a summer at home with my girls. As I have said  before, this isn't something I have done before, or at least not planned to do. If I actually accomplish all that I have scheduled, it will be a busy and interesting time, indeed. Photo ops galore. Also, this is a really important time in all of my girls' lives and as fast as they are growing and changing, I would love to be able to look back and actually see the progression they make from day to day. LH is almost 13 and that means she is growing from a girl to a young lady. TD is 9 and is changing from a child into a big girl. EG is morphing daily into this strange mix of young child and old soul. There is no telling how different they will be in three months, let alone a full year.

On top of this, I have made the decision (which is always the first and most important step) to really and truly go to school and get a degree. DH has decided to change careers and focus on becoming a teacher so he is planning on enrolling in the fall. We thought that maybe taking classes together, or at least at the same time would be good for us. Taking the same class might not be wise because of the competitive streak I can sometimes get. Perhaps if we take the same classes but at different times, we can help and encourage each other. It would make us a little more accountable and a lot more understanding of each other while we are going through this ordeal. While this is going to be a lot of hard work, it is also going to be exciting, and possibly fun. Who knows what kind of things I will be exposed to on the college campus?

On top of the 365 project, I will post pictures here as I feel the need. I hope you will come along with me on my journey. As disjointed as my life has been, I hope that I can find some continuity here. I doubt it will help me feel and more stable or any less confused. On the other hand, that's part of what makes me who I am.

Let the confusion continue!

Debbie "Who?" Lollar

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