Saturday, January 17, 2009

Clothing for Dancing In

Y'all, you will never believe what I found at the Salvation Army today while hunting for red and pink buttons (the Valentine quilts, they are tooling along):
Five dollars each, handmade white satiny poofy lacy elaborate dresses exactly the size of a four-year-old (a tad long-ish on the two-year-old, but she cares not). One dress even has a little tag in the back that reads "Made for you with love by Grandma."

Were they flower girls dresses? Baptism dresses? Easter dresses? I surely hope that Grandma, who made them with love for some little girl just Willow's size, never knew that they got donated to the Salvation Army along with some other junk.

Grandma would be pleased, though, don't you think, to see the reception they're getting in our house:
Before I show you my favorite of Willow's photos from yesterday, I should ask you: You do know the whole purpose of photography, don't you? It isn't just to look, or to capture--it is to see. Seeing is something much different than merely looking, and it is why unobservant people generally take very poor photographs. To see something so truly that you can take a true and beautiful photograph of it--to do that you have to know what you're looking at, to understand it, to accept it, to love it. When you do that, then, with luck and skill, you can take a photograph that will help other people see this something, too.

I am, and this shouldn't surprise you, my friends, much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I like to quietly see and capture, but I very rarely trust another person to see me, to know me well enough to capture a true photograph (if you want to hear a funny story about that particular little neurosis of mine, ask Matt to tell you about our wedding photographer--sheesh!).

It's stunned me, then, this week that I've daily put my fragile and expensive camera into the hands of my little girls (the lens still works with a few little scratches, right?). Because my girls, every day with my camera, they've shown me that they see. They've taken photos of their toys, their room, each other, and really captured their subjects, shown them true and beautiful through their young eyes. But most of all, my girls have shocked me by the many photos they've taken of me. Here, for instance, is my favorite of the photos Will took yesterday:

Those girls, they see me.

P.S. Check out my denim quilt tutorial over at Crafting a Green World.


Anonymous said...

You find the best things at thrift stores! I snagged a couple of nice sweaters and a really cool pillow/cushion cover for the dog (yay, now I don't have to sew one for next year), but nothing nearly as great as the things you post here.

Neat observation about using the camera. I'm pretty lousy at it, but my oldest son seems to have a reasonable knack.

cake said...

that photo of you is remarkable. on so many levels. thanks for reminding us of what photography is all about. it is the same for drawing. i can clearly remember that moment when i "got it," that drawing is about looking, first and foremost. if you can REALLY look at something, and really see it, you can probably draw it.

i love the shot of twirling willow.