Have you ever experienced a "defining moment"?
An emotional gut punch...your entire body "stutters" for a brief second...the cold-sweat-hair-raising chills that send you to cocoon yourself under heavy blankets to stop them...a flurry of confused, yet entirely lucid thoughts flood and bob, weave, and crash through your mind threatening to drown your ability for clear thinking. That singular nanosecond of recognition...OH. MY. GOD. And a portion of your life is forever changed.
It's happened to me twice.
The first time
In the raw hours before morning, I sat on my living room sofa, reading James Michener's novel about the history of Jerusalem, "The Source". In Michener's typical style of "sprawling history", the story developed through the layers and sediments of an archaeologic dig at Tell Makor.
Upstairs, my boys slept; one a chubby cheeked toddler, the other a bug loving pre-schooler.
At one point, Michener described the sacrifice of baby boys to appease the gods. Then...he took the next logical step to describe how the birth of an entire religion rested upon the sacrifice of one mother's son to a god.
I was immediately assailed by lightening bolts of fear, recognition, questions...and the gutting realization that upstairs lay my two baby boys. I was smothered by layers of anguish. I ran upstairs, checked the boys and then crawled under the blankets, fearful that real lightening bolts would strike me dead for the thoughts I was having.
In less than a minute; less than 60 seconds - maybe even 1/60th of a second, part of my life changed.
Michener was one helluva story teller.
The second time
Last Sunday, I was out and about; listening to "Snap Judgement" on Public Radio. Lynn Schooler, a wilderness guide in Alaska, recounted his friendship with Michio Hoshino, a world famous nature photographer.
Together, they spent years searching for the elusive blue bear; a bear whose fur is such a grey tone as to look blue.
Finally, Schooler had strong leads as to where he and Michio could find a blue bear. But, Michio was unable to come at that moment. Schooler took another guide job and on his return several weeks later, learned that Michio had been killed by a bear.
My heart sank to hear this. I had become invested in their friendship just listening to Schooler's story. I had wanted to meet Michio.
The next spring, Schooler was on the water, near an isolated island. He saw the blue bear - out of the brush and standing near the water's edge. He ignored everything he knew and respected about wildlife to get closer to the bear. As the bear turned and looked at him, he snapped a picture of the blue bear.
In that bittersweet moment he thought, "Where are you, Michio? Where are you now that I found the blue bear?"
He described the resulting picture as "blurry, you can see the bear, it's not a technically great picture."
"My entire friendship with Michio was wrapped up in that 1/60th of a second."
Part of my life changed.
In 1/60th of a second.
A length of time the shutter is open.
Photographs are important
I am almost at a loss for words here.
Every fiber of my being now vibrates with a knowledge of why everyone should have photographic prints; prints of what is meaningful to them.
- Not in your computer where you will never look at them again.
- Not on a USB drive that will be filed away or lost.
- Not on a CD that will probably become corrupt in less than 10 years.
In your face...those 1/60th's of a second need to be IN. YOUR. FACE. and on your walls.
As a photographer, I know why people should hire a photographer, buy prints, or learn how to take better pictures.
Now, I feel an urgency, almost an evangelization about why people need photographic prints. It does not matter if your photo is technically perfect. Print the photo you love and holds meaning for you. Get an archival quality print - not the quick print from the Big Box Store that will fade and yellow over time.
If you don't print them for yourself, print them for your kids and grandkids. Let them know what moved you; what held meaning for you. Your archival photo print will hold your story, your legacy.
Because that 1/60th of a second holds................................................You can fill in the blank for yourself.
Can I get an "Amen" from the choir!
Until next time
You can find Michener's book, "The Source" on Amazon and your local library.
Lynn Schooler's book, "The Blue Bear; A true story of friendship and discovery in the Alaskan Wild" is also available on Amazon. You can listen to his seventeen minute story on Snap Judgement.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Do you have a favorite photo? What story does it hold? You can leave your thoughts about today's post and your 1/60th of a second in the section below. And please, share on your social media.
Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure!