Tag Archives: photography

The Smile on His Mama’s Face

baby MLK

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has compiled 30 photographs from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I learned so much from them that I thought I would share the link with you today.  Click here to view the gallery.  As a picture is worth a thousand words, this gallery left me speechless.  

Dr. King died before I was born, so I’ve only ever known about his life along with the knowledge of his end–that’s why that smiling laughing picture on the balcony in Memphis is so heartbreaking to me.  We can’t look at it these days without also hearing the sound of the gun cracking.  It’s hard to see a moment for what it is, when we know how it all worked out.  Some of these pictures took me back to see the joy of his life.  The hard work that was worth it.  The delight in living.  The great well of love that drives courage.  Before today, I had never seen the smile on his mama’s face.  

The Pie Town Fair

Daddy Makes Lunch

As a nod to yesterday’s post, here’s another picture of a sweet girl’s daddy feeding her a special lunch.  Look at his gentle smile:

Daddy feeding his daughter at the Pie Town fair.

Daddy feeding his daughter at the Pie Town fair.

The Pie Town Fair

One pretty Saturday, almost 75 years ago, in a ramshackle place called Pie Town, New Mexico, the homesteading families got together for a fair–barbecue, calf-roping, cakes made with all the eggs the chickens could lay.  A photographer named Russell Lee was there with his trusty camera and a brand new invention:  color film.  

Families like these:

Thumbs Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders.

Thumbs Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders.

Facing-life-head-on-Jack-Whinery-homesteader-and-his-family-in-Pie-Town-New-Mexico-October-1940-

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Whinery and their children.

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, Pie Town New Mexico.

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, Pie Town New Mexico.

Mr and Mrs Norris

Mr and Mrs Norris

Came to the fair to meet up with neighbors and friends

Gathering for the fair, Pie Town New Mexico

Gathering for the fair, Pie Town New Mexico

Friends at the Pie Town Fair

Friends at the Pie Town Fair

Asking the blessing

Asking the blessing

Enjoy a fresh lunch in the fine weather

Serving BBQ at the Pie Town Fair.

Serving BBQ at the Pie Town Fair.

Serving beans at the Pie Town fair.

Serving beans at the Pie Town fair.

Serving desserts at the Pie Town fair.

Serving desserts at the Pie Town fair.

Having lunch at the Pie Town fair

Having lunch at the Pie Town fair

Then there was some singing from the children

Singing at the Pie Town fair

Singing at the Pie Town fair

Singing at the Pie Town fair

Singing at the Pie Town fair

and then everyone went home for supper.  

dinner

Wordless Wednesday–the Blitz in Colour

Along the same lines as yesterday’s post about early Kodachrome photos, I offer you these startling images of London in the grip of an incessant German bombing campaign, The Blitz.  

London during the Blitz

Life Goes On, London During the Blitz

blitz bus

A bus travelling in black out conditions falls into a bomb crater on Ballham High Road.

blitz parlaiment

The Houses of Parliament, 1941. Note the anti-aircraft balloons dotting the sky.

blitz park

Carrying On. A man reads a book in a London park, as an anti-aircraft balloon lies in the background.


London in the Blitz

Smoke, every morning of the Blitz



The Sun Was Bright That Day

It’s easy to look back at grainy black and white photographs of times gone by and let the difference imposed by the medium convince me that those times were different.  As if my grandparents wore only gray and lived in gray houses with gray shrubs outside and gray cake for birthdays.  As if yellow and orange were invented in 1963.  

It’s easy to keep those times at a further distance because everything I see in those images shouts “NOT LIKE YOU!”  

Then I see images like this one: 

fair ladies

This was taken around 1940, using a brand new invention called Kodachrome (color film).  As my friend, Cindy, said:  “I look at them and my mind just can’t believe they are in color. My brain is telling me that photos from that time period are supposed to be black and white. It’s a weird feeling when looking at them.”  

Pink satin!  Gold braid!  A piece of cardboard to keep the green grass from staining the white satin of your skirt.  A thin gold bracelet.  A sparkly ring.  Sun on a calf and the peak of a thigh.  Shadows and squinting into that bright bright sun.  

They had never seen a television or heard of World War Two.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was their president, again.

Imagine the same picture in black and white.  Oh wait!  I have software that can make that happen:

fair ladies bw

Now they look like 1940.  I notice the hairstyles and the sheen of the satin, but the pink has disappeared into the myth of “they were not like us.”  

This is what my grandmothers would have looked like in their younger days.  Sitting on the grass, in the sun, at the fair.  

Just like us.  

Fourth Trimester Bodies

Fourth Trimester Bodies

Allison Prejna and her child photographed by Ashlee Wells Jackson

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you look at this photograph?  

Softness?  Nourish?  Mother?  Comfort?  Completion?  Beautiful?  Joy?  

Flab?  Fat?  Cellulite?  Dimples?  Ripples?  Sag?  

This picture makes me ache for the days when I nursed my babies, when they fit so exactly into the curves of my body and the curves of my body were made for sheltering and nourishing them.  For forty weeks, my body gave itself over to the making of another person.  Every cell, every breath, every bite was dedicated to their creation. My body transformed itself–twice–into a ship that carried my two favorite people to this world.  For the first six months after they arrived, my body and not a drop of anything else kept them alive and caused them to flourish.  Even after they began to eat other foods, my daughter and my son returned to me and my body for over a year for nourishment and comfort.  My soft body was and still is their safe harbor.  

This ship, this harbor is a holy place to my children.  Now it is my ship alone, the only vessel I have to navigate the rest of my life.  How can I find its holiness again?  How can I honor it for the work it has done and the adventure that is yet to be had?  

I can look at this picture of a mother and hear the words “softness,” “beautiful,” “completion.”  But were I to pose the same way and fit my toddler in my lap, I am afraid that I would look at the image of my miraculous body and hear the biting words “fat,” “sag,” and “flabby.”  When I walk by a mirror naked, I don’t stop and say, “Wow, this body has done some incredible things!  Thank you!”  Instead, I turn to the side and suck in, poke and prod and sigh.  Or I don’t even stop at the mirror to say hello.  

Today a friend who has recently had a baby confided that she is feeling these “fat” words and fighting with her image of herself.  I knew just what to say to her and meant every word, but if I try to say the same things to myself….well.  So I knew it was a serendipitous gift when another friend posted a link to this wonderful article on Huffington Post about Ashlee Wells Jackson and her Fourth Trimester Bodies Project, “a photo series that embraces the changes brought to women’s bodies by motherhood.  By showcasing moms, Jackson hopes to shine a light on cultural interpretations of female beauty and change women’s expectations for themselves and those around them.” Please click through that link to see a gallery of 27 images of mother bodies.  Jackson is raising funds for her project and hopes to publish a book of images next summer.  She also calls for models!  

There are people who survive to adulthood with intact healthy body images–hooray for them–but many of us have been brainwashed by the Photoshopped, hypersexualised glossy magazine ideal that we hardly know what to think about a lumpy body that bears the marks of life.  I am practicing accepting this body, honoring it for the favors it has done me, and strengthening it for the journey ahead.  

Today’s challenge:  stop by a mirror and say hello.  Look yourself right in the eye for 10 seconds.  Then smile.  Say “Hello, Gorgeous!”   

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