A couple of weekends ago, I spent a delightful Saturday with my friend Nancy at Hamilton Pool outside of Austin, TX. Ya’ll, this place was beautiful. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…
Last weekend, I met the D Family at Episcopal High school for family portraits. And not just any family portraits. We had kids, mom and dad, auntie, and both sets of grandparents! It was fantastic to photograph this extended family in such a beautiful location. And as you can see, those kiddos were real troopers…
So after a long morning of smiles, they did some much-needed racing :-)
I’m glad to be back in Texas, though I love and miss St Louis. And the biggest reason for my love of this place – the people. Allow me to introduce my best people: mom, dad, and bro (sis-in-law, niece, and nephew not pictured but also favorites).
My dad, out standing in his field (Ha, that’s a dad joke!):
My mom, my friend:
My brother doesn’t always pose for pictures. But when he does, he holds the coveted Manimal Trophy, complete with Planet of the Apes action figure guy:
Will Film Friday become a thing? We shall see. This week, though, I happen to have some lovely film photographs to post and it also happens to be Friday. So why not?
Last week, I took a little drive out to Brenham (home of fantastically delicious Blue Bell ice cream) toting both my Nikon n2020 AF (which I first tried out in this post) and my Yashica tl-electro, complete with brand new non-mercury batteries. I had my doubts as to whether the Yashica would be functional or clean (despite my best efforts, I still see lots of dust through the viewfinder). In addition, I had to learn to use the light meter, which is essentially just an LED indicator light providing rough clues about exposure to the photographer – quite a change from my Canon 5d Mark iii. In the end, though, it did quite well. I’m sure there was a fair amount of user error, which will hopefully decrease with a bit more practice. I guess we’ll find out when the next Film Friday roles around.
Nikon n2020 AF:
Well, it turns out that the mini session date was perfect timing for the S Family, since Baby James just turned 1! It was so great to get to see these guys. I went to college with Mrs. S but have not seen her in forever. This was my first chance to meet their sweet boy. Thanks, ya’ll, for turning up bright and early to catch the morning light in the park!
It’s been a few days now since the death of Robin Williams and I have spent those days digging through the layers of my own sadness. As a professional counselor, I am well aware that feeling an emotion does not necessarily equate to understanding that emotion. I feel such sadness about the loss of this man that I never met. And, until today, I was just not sure what that intensity of emotion was all about. Yes I am terribly sad, as I would be about any person leaving this earth too soon. But with Robin, there is more. I benefitted richly from this man my entire life. For 30 years, he has been a constant source of entertainment and laughter. I was 8 years old when Robin taught me to fly, to fight, and to crow as Peter Pan. I was 9 when he brought Disney’s Genie to life, 10 when he dressed up as a nanny for Mrs. Doubtfire AND voiced the wacky bat in Fern Gully (remember that one?). I was 12 when he took care of a couple of kids around my age inside a maniacal, man-eating Jumanji game. And I was 14 when I saw him play a vulnerable, funny, sad, and tough-as-nails therapist in Good Will Hunting (yes, I was too young for that one but really, what are a few f-bombs when you get a story like that – a story of love and loss and brotherhood). For years, Robin Williams has poured into my life. And I never met him. Never knew anything about him, really. I missed those early days, the Mork and Mindy era when his personal demons were more visible. In my child’s mind, he was simply a light source – a never-ending well of energy that could give and give without being exhausted. And without realizing it, I derived great comfort from his constancy. In true egocentric child fashion (and maybe this is just the way we think about celebrities in general) I never saw him as a fallible human being. I chose to bask in his glow without a thought for the light source. And it is that – the looking back, the reassessing, recognizing Robin’s humanity and my naiveté – that has so compounded my sadness over these last few days. He was a human being – a brave human being who fought addiction and mental illness with a smile – but a human being nonetheless, with needs and fears and insecurities.
This feeling that is deeper than sadness is not guilt. I believe that Robin Williams found fulfillment in the joy that he brought to the lives of children like me. Plus I, as a child growing up in central Texas, had no access to this international superstar. I could not have helped him and really had no right to try. He had a family and friends who, from the things that I have read, loved him dearly. No, this feeling is something wider and deeper than guilt. This is a lament of my heart, because the way things are is not the way that they should be. We people are not connected. We crave intimacy but the hunger is never satisfied. So often, we fail to ask for what we need or we fail to give what is needed or (the crux of the issue) we don’t even know what those needs are. In those spaces that are not black and white, where there is no easy answer but things are clearly not right, lament is, in my mind, an appropriate (perhaps the only?) response.
There’s plenty of room for lament right now. Riots and looting and tear gas and rubber bullets abound in St. Louis – a city that I called home until a year ago. Both sides feel unheard, powerless, afraid, and the road to healing is anything but straight. Rockets fly back and forth between Israel and Palestine, fighting an age-old war. Innocent people die and those on the periphery take sides. These are two huge disconnects, breakdowns in human connection, that fill our headlines and our televisions. But we also experience this on a much smaller scale in day-to-day life. Spousal misunderstandings lead to marital tension; teen communication breaks down when their language is totally foreign to their parents; sometimes we don’t even understand what is going on inside ourselves (and if you aren’t connected to you, how will you connect with others?). What’s more, this disconnect is not simply a product of the age we live in. It would be great if we could blame it on technology or selfies or mass media. But this issue of disconnection has been around in one form or another for all of human history. It is nothing new, and we are probably not going to fix it any time soon. And so we lament.
For me, though, there is a spiritual element here. I come from a faith tradition that believes in the restoration of all things, including our relationships. So this lament, this cry of my heart, is a longing for something that is coming. I feel the absence of wholeness because wholeness is what I was intended for and it is also where I am heading. Oddly enough, my own lament is also a reminder to me of my hope. As C.S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” I believe in restoration. I believe that justice and mercy are in the world and will eventually win out. In fact, perhaps my childhood picture of Robin Williams is less a product of my naiveté than of my hope. I saw him fighting for joy and for laughter – not only in his own life but also in mine. And that is not a fool’s errand. Joy will be victorious.
How’s that for alliteration right? So here’s the back story: my grandpa, sadly, passed away when I was a very little girl and I have only vague memories of him. As it turns out, though, he was quite the photographer. He had a homemade darkroom in the house during my mom’s childhood and even created a makeshift darkroom oversees so that he could develop pictures to send home during WWII. Well my mom recently dug his old cameras and equipment out of the closet and gave them to me to try out. Here is my first attempt with the “younger” of the two cameras – a Nikon N2020 AF. This camera came out in the 80s, so my grandpa would have only used it for the last few years of his life. Next up will be the Yashica TL-Electro, which is from the 70s. This one was a bit more complicated since it originally used mercury batteries which are, for obvious reasons, no longer sold in the US. But the replacements arrived in the mail today – wahoo! Hopefully I can take it out for a spin sometime this week. For now, here are a few of my faves from the N2020. Mostly shot at a small airport outside of Houston. Some in my home.
Well, it was the weekend of the Photo Booth here in Houston. And I think I’ve got most of the kinks worked out of the process at this point – it only took two! Thanks to everyone who posed for Sam and Mary’s photo booth tonight. Texas, and the people contained therein, will sorely miss these two. Vaya con Dios, friends (and visit, please)!
All the pics in the gallery are available for download. Just find your photo, click on it, and then click the link in the bottom right-hand corner to view the full-sized image. Once you have the full-sized image on your screen, you can simply save it to your computer using the File menu. These are all yours so feel free to share and print to your heart’s content. Enjoy!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Photo Booth last night at Christ the King Presbyterian Church VBS! To download your photos, simply click on your pic in the gallery below. Then click on the link below the photo on the right-hand side that says “View full size”. Once you see your photo, save it to your computer using the “save as” command in the file menu above your browser. If you have trouble viewing or downloading your photos, feel free to email me – contact “at” sarahsuephotography “dot” com. Once you have your pic saved, it’s all yours. Feel free to post to social media or print as you see fit. Enjoy!