Taking Photos

In 2008, I went to New York City with my sister and her family. Her son was in charge of the camera. Lest you think this was an opportunity for a child to get some shutterbug experience, Collin was an adult, 24 years old. He took pictures of EVERYTHING.

Collin, the photographer

Collin, the photographer

Natalie sitting in Hans Christian Andersen's lap

Natalie sitting in Hans Christian Andersen’s lap

For example, as we were walking through Central Park, we came upon the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, seated on a bench, with a book on one knee. Collin got out the camera. We sent his 20-year-old sister Natalie to sit on Andersen’s bronze lap, as though listening to him tell one of his tales, maybe “The Ugly Duckling.” ( We aren’t irreverent or inappropriate; the statue is intended to be climbed on.) Collin took several shots of her. She moved away; he kept shooting. There are distance pictures of Hans Christian Andersen, nearby pictures, and an intense close-up of the inside of his nose. The camera filled up with stuff like that.

My sister was diligent about downloading the pictures each evening, emptying out the camera so it would be ready for the scores of photos that Collin would undoubtably take the next day. One morning, she’d had enough. Collin was snapping away at something, maybe a pigeon flying by, and she turned, stabbing her forefinger at him and, frowning mightily, said, “Stop taking so many useless pictures!! You’re wasting all the camera’s space!!” He swung the camera around to her and snapped the shutter. It’s our favorite photo from that New York trip.

JoAnne, miffed about the amount of "stupid pictures" Collin has been taking

JoAnne, miffed about the amount of “useless pictures” Collin has been taking

Meanwhile, I was still using my 35 mm SLR film camera (which I loved). Each evening, as JoAnne downloaded her digital camera’s photos to her laptop, I was careful to put my exposed rolls of film in my suitcase and put fresh, unused rolls in my bag for the next day.

The following afternoon, we were on our way to another Central Park adventure (trying to find the place we’d gotten lost there a few years earlier). I had a couple more pictures left on the roll in my camera and began searching my bag for a fresh roll. I couldn’t find one. I was positive I had put more there, but I couldn’t lay my hands on even one.

At the southwest corner of the park, there was a little bitty store, not much more than a kiosk, selling ice cream, candy, and souvenirs. We went in, mainly for snacks, and I saw that they had disposable cameras for sale. I asked if they had film, also. The two young women and young man in charge were friendly and wanted to help, but English was not their first language. We couldn’t make them understand what I wanted. When I said, “film for my camera,” they kept pointing to the disposable cameras, hanging above the counter. Finally, my sister did some sort of pantomime with my camera, trying to help them know what I needed. The young man brightened and gave us an excited smile. He turned to the young women and said, “Oh, flehm!” “Ahhh,” they nodded He reached under the counter and pulled out a roll of 36 shots, which I gladly bought.

I love New York

You also must love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:19 (HCSB )

I appreciate the local folk when I travel. I find that most of them, whether immigrants in the metropolis, settled-in transplants in a city, or those who still live in the very small town where they were born, are kind and helpful to the “foreigner.”


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