Then came cameras. The early models turned out sepia-toned photos of stern, unsmiling people. Even dogs, horses and livestock look unhappy in those old photos.
Color photography came on the scene sixty years before the 35mm camera, followed by instant cameras and camcorders then on to the current rage of digital and cell phone cameras. Methods of preserving images on film have changed, but the reason behind wanting them preserved hasn't.
Memories. We want a visual reminder of a time, person, place, adventure, gathering. That something tangible, or at least forever saved inside a picture-taking device, that, by looking at it, will return us to a place, person, moment or event.
A moment such as this:
A few mornings ago a woman came into my shop and asked if she could take pictures of a friend and her one-year-old baby inside my store. As I’ve mentioned before, my bookshop is located in one of Pierce City’s original banks in the late 1800s, The Lawrence County Bank.The front's fifteen-feet stone arches and marble pillars attract photographers and groups seeking a unique setting for photos.
The photographer says "This won't take long." I leave them to it and stay up front behind the counter, out of sight. I didn't want to be a distraction or a cause for the little fellow to not turn on the charm.
One of the challenges I have as a writer is describing sounds; spelling it out so a reader hears it the way I hear it and want them to hear it. I'm going to try to do that now, so you get a hint of the sounds I heard from Mom and photographer. And ultimately the baby.
"C'mon Andy! pfttttttttttt" (got to have your tongue out for this one - the ole raspberry)"Smile for Mommy! pfttttttttttttt"
cluckcluckcluckcluck (a tongue against cheek maneuver) "Let me see that smile, sweetie! cluckcluck
Finger snapping and hand clapping which Baby Andy responds to with whimpers.
"The eensie weensie spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out."
(mf - musical symbol for mezzo forte, medium loud)
1811 portrait, Napoleon II, Roi de Rome,
trained while in utero not to whimper or wail
"Here. Try my keys."
(f - musical symbol for forte, loud)
"I don't understand! He loves playing with these at home!" janglejangleclink
"Here Andy!! tututututututututututut Lookie! See the pony?Let's look at the pony!!"
"No, not that! My sister has one and he's afraid of-"
Baby, five tones higher
(ff - yup, fortissimo, double loud)
By now I feel really sorry for Mom. Been in her shoes: inconsolable wailing baby in a photography session. In my family those agonizingly long moments forever preserved in time have been dubbed The Mean Baby Picture. So I sympathize with Mom who wants this,
Mom swept him off the kiddie rocking chair (I had to peek around the corner at this point so saw her do this) and marched toward the front door, looking every bit as annoyed as her precious son did. The photographer thanked me and the trio exited. I waved to Baby Andy who was looking at me over Mom's shoulder and guess what was going on with his cherubic face, cheeks so red from crying?
He blinked and his mouth twitched, just the tiniest bit. Not a smile, but definitely more of an upturn of the mouth than down. I grinned. Couldn't help it. What a rascal.
If his mother could have seen him then........