How long….

So I’ve been going through my man cave  office  family storage room and I’ve come across stuff of mine from my last employer. So how long does a person hold on to stuff they received from a previous employer? An hour, a week, about 4 years?  I’m looking at about 4 years now I think. For those not in the know, I was a studio manager/ trainer/ photographer for Olan Mills here in the USA for 5 years. I still have a stack of photographs (wallet size) of families, adults and kids that were given to me right here in my desk drawer. Just today I found a booklet of blank petty cash forms and three award ribbons that I received in my 5 years. Somewhere else I have a notebook full of “merits” that I received. I believe I still have my C.P.P. certificate. It’s hard to let go of some items that make you proud of what you had done. Do I miss it? Less and less everyday, but there were those special moments that just made me smile so much. I can tell you the stories. Would you like to hear a few?

A father and son came in one day. Both well dressed.  His son was going to go to seminary I believe. I could see the pride the father had for his son. I’m going to point out on this particular sitting that they were black. I can’t tell you how many black mothers came in with their children and those children did not have fathers in their lives. It was a frequent occurrence that frequently depressed me. So here I have a young adult son and a father actively involved in his life and it is just brightening my day. I’m watching the mannerisms of both of them. I’m seeing those glances out the corner of their eyes and I can see the father is a stern one but full of love and hope and beaming with pride for his son and I see a son that truly values his father. So I had them in this pose where they were side by side. A very standard family portrait and I asked the father to look at his son and tell him how proud he was of his son. The son was also looking at his father and the father told him and I captured the perfect expressions. They both teared up just a bit and there was a hug after. I could tell the father meant every word and I could see how much that meant to the son. Sometimes I felt like I was more than a photographer when things like that happened. I have a photo of it too.

There was the the little girl in a wheelchair. Her mother brought her in and I think this is one that was sent to me because of the special needs of the child. The child could not sit up on her own and had to be strapped in. Non stop stream of saliva pouring out of her always open mouth. I don’t remember what her condition was but it seems that all her photos (according to her mom) was just a shot with drool hanging from mouth and eyes starring off to the side not really focused on anything. She had not smiling photos of her daughter. This was a tough one. I had a paper towel and I would swoop in and do a quick dab at her lips to stem the flow of saliva, jump back (which as a amputee is hard to do quickly) and get her attention and above all else, SMILE. At one point the paper towel was soaked and I just used the back of my hand and wiped it on the side of my pants or shirt (I cleaned my hands very often and sanitized). In the end I got a shot of the little girl with the best smile she was capable of and no saliva to be seen. Her mother was so very happy and that made me feel so good that I could do that for her.

One day a elderly man and his two children came in for photos. The daughter and son were 30 to 40ish in age and the father looked to be in very bad shape. His eyes were hazy, nearly grey. He didn’t respond well and may have been nearly blind. They just wanted a group shot but I asked to get a shot of their dad on his own. I got this great head shot where the lighting was just right and really made his eyes look so much clearer. He didn’t even look sick anymore. The daughter loved it and purchased it in an 8×10 I think it was. Three weeks later the father passed away. The son came by to get the photos and saw that picture and well…. I’m sure that is on a mantle somewhere.

There was that day I had an actor and actress and the producer for a movie come in to get a shot of the two to be used in a film called “A Dangerous Calling”. I have the DVD and my name is in the credits. How cool.

There’s the 2 month old baby named Ayana in a beautiful pink dressed propped up on a bed of roses shooting a bird back at the camera. The mother and the child’s Aunt thought it was hysterical and got a sheet of wallets telling me she does it all the time.

There’s 2 year old Ryleigh in a dress that was doing so well in the chair when just as I was squeezing the trigger she lifted both legs in the air and draped each leg over the sides of the arms of the chair, stuck out her tongue and exposed her training pants underneath. Showed it to the mother and she told me to keep it. She bought a sheet or two of that.

The photograph of the three small children that I shot looking down from a ladder and then finding out it was being used in our advertising nationally. Yeah. I was proud. I even have one of the posters rolled up somewhere around here.

The many co-worker photos that I took because they wanted me to do them. I never felt comfortable doing it but I’m deeply humbled that they wanted me to do them.

Yeah. There are some good memories from the last job. I wouldn’t go back to it though. I went through so much pain and I had no family life.  Just thought I’d share.


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