This time last year...

I've been going through some photos that were taken through this past year. I don't really have a good way to share them with you other than to, well, just do it. I really ought to blog more -- it's the only form of journaling, other than prayer journaling (and that has been pretty scarce over the past 4 years, too) that I've been even remotely consistent with. I'm always glad when I go back and see the blog, so obviously it is something I should continue. So, sorry for the break, and I guess I will just pick up where I left off, more for my own memories than your interest, I guess.

This time last year, Daddy, Miss Rose, Joman and Roks were involved with VBS at the church we were attending. Annie was only a few months old and I don't actually have much memory of this period of time. Probably, basically, overwhelmed. At any rate, someone (not me) took these photos of the little kids having fun with some of the leftover VBS materials. I remember that Daddy had volunteered to do the craft sessions -- which I thought was cuh-razy (talk about a duck out of water!) but actually, it went very well for him and he was happy, and the kids were happy, and it was good.

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Bert, age 3

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Roks, age 6

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Gater, age 23 mths

I do recall that my cousin and his wife and their children were visiting from overseas that month. I don't think that they fully understood the emotions I was going through then. I know they didn't. I guess I don't expect people to much, any more. Generally, I just shut up about it. Funny how my blogging stopped right around the same time, huh.

Introspection is so boring for the observer. LOL!

Anyway, around the same time, I watched a very intriguing documentary called The True Meaning of Pictures about the photography of Shelby Lee Adams, of the people of the Appalachian region of his childhood. I don't know that I would do it justice to describe it; I have seen a lot of discussion about it, both negative and positive. Some people seem to think that the underprivileged of the Appalachian -- or really, any American -- region ought not to be discussed. Some people think that the subjects have been exploited and their situations manipulated for personal gain. Some people think that Shelby Lee Adams' photographs have expressed and encouraged "hillbilly" stereotyping.

Well, in general, I don't agree.

Discussion of what is, is far preferable to discussing what should be. If people live like the stereotypical hillbilly, that doesn't mean anything at all regarding the stereotype. It's not a judgment on them; they are people all the same, with many skills, talents, challenges, strengths, and problems. Most of all, they are who they are. That's not a judgment, that's just a fact. If one doesn't like the indignity of their position, that says more about the judge than it does about them. Of course, I am sure that they need help and have things they would change if they had the opportunity, and many could benefit by better nutrition and warmer clothing and significant medical attention. As with anyone. At any rate, I don't feel that they are being exploited, but maybe I am viewing them with a different eye than some others. I don't want to exploit them, and I don't take them for mere entertainment, although some of the actions, events, and expressions portrayed are, in and of themselves, entertaining. Just like in my own life.

I guess what I'm saying is that it is a film to see.

So around that time, I was impressed by the ability of black and white photography to convey a more starkly engaging picture-thought, and so I starting doing a few shots in black-and white. These are a few of the first ones.
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Annie's first reaction to anything she was unsure of was, at the time, and still is, to stick her fingers (now thumb) straight in her mouth. She never has been much of a cryer, because at the first sign of trouble, in goes the thumb of comfort.
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These photos weren't much of anything except just testing out how light works in black and white, without color cues for definition and shape. But I'm posting them anyway because little Annie is just too cute not to.

As an aside, I sent Shelby Lee Adams a message the other day and he confirms that he has a new book coming out this year, and he is starting a foundation to help the people of the region he has made visible to the rest of the USA.

Hopefully, more tomorrow.

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