List Post, mai 2017 (May)

May is a busy month. It’s when the school year ends (in the south, anyway), and when graduations happen. Mother’s Day falls in May, Memorial Day weekend occurs, and summer vacation is just around the corner. In my family, there are several May birthdays, at least one wedding anniversary, and this year, there was an engagement announcement. It’s also Brain Tumor Awareness month.

I don’t have any author events scheduled this month, but on Saturday, June 10, I’ll join other local “Sisters in Crime” authors in a panel discussion about publishing at the Decatur Library (see my News & Events page for details).

Earlier this month, I scheduled a photo shoot with the fabulous and talented photographer, Lynn Crow. I needed a professional, updated headshot (not taken by an iPhone) to submit to mystery writers’ conference Bouchercon for its program. I’ll appear at the conference later this year in Toronto.

Lynn had me meet her at the Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta to shoot the photos. When she sent me the proofs, I thought I knew which one I should choose for the headshot. However, I liked several, and after I narrowed them down, I asked my Facebook friends to vote for their favorite.

17011-0116 JFF

The one above is the winner, 18-6, by my count, and it’s the one I thought I should select. Second place was the one below. I sent the winner to the Bouchercon folks, but I can always crop the “brick wall” one for a closeup headshot alternative for other occasions. I used the other photos (slideshow below) on my website, social media sites, and Amazon author page. And there are a few other (so far, unpublished) proofs I’ve saved in case I need them later.

17011-0167 5x7.jpg

All in all, I’m glad I had this done. I’d had a previous headshot (only) taken by a different photogragher a few years ago, but since then, I’ve lost a lot of weight. The only other time I’ve had professional photos taken was in my wedding dress when I was engaged to be married, over 35 years ago. I’ve always wished that I’d had more taken (or chosen to keep the proofs). But I had a very limited budget then, and didn’t realize how much I’d want to see those photos later on.

It’s different now that photos are much less expensive and easier to share. I’m more often the one behind the (iPhone) camera, rather than in front of it, and I’m more comfortable with words than images. But I’m happy to share these, and I hope they reflect something about me.

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La photographie

Now there’s something that has changed.

If you’re older than my teenage daughter, you may remember when taking photos was a very different process than it is today. Like so many people now, I enjoy the convenience of taking pictures with my phone or my camera (which has many features I haven’t taken the time to learn). I’m happy that I can view my photos immediately, delete the ones I don’t like, and crop lots of others. I love not having to print (or pay for) them unless they have a physical destination. And I’m grateful to be able to send pictures so easily to friends and family.

It wasn’t always this way. During my time in France many years ago, my girlfriends and I took very few photos, the main reason being that it was expensive. Taking pictures was reserved for important moments and unusual, beautiful scenes. Of course, the whole year was full of both, but, being young, we didn’t realize that. However, one day, Alison took a snapshot of me in a presque everyday moment, looking out over our  4e à droit (is it à droit, or just droit?) apartment terrace at the beach and the Mediterranean Sea.

“Look at me, Jules,” she might have said. “If this comes out, I’ll give it to you and you can send it to your boyfriend back home.”
Which I did — in an envelope, through the mail.

He kept it, and what you see above is a scan of that photo — something neither of us could imagine at the time.

Technology has changed the way we take pictures and our ability to share them, and I wonder if, in the process, it’s made them somewhat less important. A picture captures a moment in time. With so many pictures being taken now, are we mélanger-ing the moments into one big blur that might be better recorded in a video? Or are we losing those moments in a sea of other, less important ones?

What hasn’t changed about la photographie are the moments. I have boxes containing hundreds of photos of my family, the best ones preserved in scrapbooks and albums, chronicling the years and telling a story. Now I keep them on a “device” — able to be modified or deleted.

I’m glad the moments they record can never be lost or changed.

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