Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Redemption, at last

You may have noticed that at times, the PapaGolf Chronicles could be just as easily categorized as a "photo blog" as it is a "flying blog." This is really not surprising; for as long as I can remember, I have been interested in both flying and photography. Well, I think the flying actually came first - I have clear memories of whiling away my early academic career daydreaming about airplanes.

The photography bug was more or less dormant in me for the most part, right up until Jr. High. At the time, my brother had a friend named Brad, and Brad was the school photographer. It was all film back then, of course, so there was a bit more to it than taking the shots and loading them onto a computer. Back then, you had a choice: develop them yourself, or take them to a processor to have it done. With color, it took a significant budget to develop your own, but Black & White was far more attainable. Brad had a B&W darkroom at his house where he developed his own film and made his own prints. And it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. And, naturally, I had to learn how to do it myself. I'm like that.

And I did. I had a darkroom set up in our laundry room, and I learned how to use a manual camera. There was no auto-focus back then, and exposure was set by reading a light meter built into the camera in order to set the correct f-stop and shutter speed. When Brad left Jr. High for bigger pastures, I took over the role of school photographer. I attended the basketball games, the track meets, the cross-county races, the whole works. I took and developed hundreds of pictures to be used in the year book. I suspect most of the kids in the school recognized me as "the kid that always has the camera."

A full year of shooting pictures, developing them, and printing them led to the ultimate day: the last day of Jr. High, and the day the yearbooks came out. What should have been one of the proudest days of my young life turned out to be anything but that, though. They had sent the yearbooks to a tech school for printing, and they had somehow managed to print them in stark black & white - absolutely no shades of gray. The pictures looked awful. Just awful. I was crushed. All of that work, wasted. The money spent on paper, chemicals, equipment. Wasted. It was devastating.

I remember being hassled by a lot of kids about it, but one in particular stands out in my memory for his cruelty. He was a minister's kid, and his firmly held faith was that I should not have volunteered to be the photographer if I didn't know what I was doing. There was no convincing him that the fault was with the printing, not the photographs. He spent the entire 20 minute bus ride home from school berating me and accusing me of ruining his year book. I never spoke cordially to him again.

So where am I headed with this? Well, Friday was Co-pilot Egg's last day in Jr. High, and she brought home her yearbook. They're much nicer these days: full color, glossy pages, chock full of pictures. I was paging through it, and there they were!

In full, glorious color, were some of these pictures:

Ok, it's not Sports Illustrated, but... a part of me that I had long forgotten had been damaged was healed. Redemption, at long last.

Oh, and Mr. Tim Kirk: it was the printers that ruined your yearbook, not me, you miserable son of a....

Oh well, bygones. I hope you're enjoying your preaching job at Trinity United* where your innate compassion and empathetic nature can be put to good use...

Ok, sorry. Now bygones.

* I made that up. I have no idea where he works, or even what he does for that matter.

1 comment:

  1. Actually I think he's at this church: http://www.landoverbaptist.org