Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pictures speak to me

I was reading an article about Anja Niedringhaus yesterday, the photographer that was killed in Afghanistan this week. I am a visual person, I need to see it.  I'm not good at imagining how things are going to look, what will fit where or how big is that space.  I believe this to be the reason why my walls are bare, but that's another story!  The comments I read about what a wonderful person she was, both professionally and personally, made me wonder why she chose to do that type of work, in that part of the world.
I stopped and scanned through some of the pictures in my files and I discovered that nearly all of my photos were taken during happy times.  Occasionally there were stressful times, like our recent water well issues or building our home or a landscaping project that was not cooperating.  But all these things turned out OK in the end, which is why I took photos!  Tears welled up in my eyes seeing pictures of Parker.  I am sad because he is gone but, at the time of the photo I was smiling.  Tears came again seeing photos of Marty and his Mom, who has been gone 3 years, but, at that moment it was a fun family time. 
The thought of purposely taking photographs of war, it's aftermath and the horrible pain humans cause each other is so far beyond my comfort zone, I can't imagine doing it.  If I try to think about it with perspective, rationalize it, I can, see the need but I guess what stumps me the most, how she found the strength to detach.........or did she?  Just looking at old photos of our beloved Parker, caused me the loss of emotional control for a time this morning.  HOW did Anja maintain her composure under such difficult circumstances?
Photographs speak to my eyes, my mind, my heart in ways I cannot express in words.  If I'm thinking of a familiar photograph, say my wedding photos, I don't have to physically see the photographs to know what's in them.  In this instance, I can conjure the picture, the location, the colors, the people, even as tears well in my eyes or as a smile spreads across my face. I can look at a photo album filled with people I don't know and enjoy every picture on every page.  What I said earlier about being a visual person, probably a more accurate statement is, I am an emotional person.  When I'm remembering that familiar picture, what I'm really remembering is the emotion attached to the subject, not the simple color photograph.  This must be the gift of a great photographer like Anja, she can see beyond the lens, beyond the point and shoot of my little camera, to capture the emotion of the moment, to save it for another day.
Prayers for her family and friends during this difficult time.  Many thanks to Anja and her cohorts for being brave enough to capture other worlds through the lens of their cameras to document that moment in time. 

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