Photographing Facebook – Stephanie and Jody

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Stephanie and Jody were both co-workers of mine. Jody left my office in 2005 when she was about to have her first child; Stephanie left in 2006 to move to another State agency. Let’s see how much has changed since then –

Jody now has 4 children – three girls, one boy – and is still a stay-at-home mom. This amazes me. Stephanie left the Division of State Documents – the agency she left Legislative Editing to join – after 1 year and now works for a federal contractor as an editor (I think). She has one daughter – Shannon – who will be 8 in a week. My, how time flies. 

Jody and Stephanie and I make it a point to get together whenever time allows to have dinner – just the three of us, no babies, no husbands, no other distractions. It is no doubt that we annoy the hell out of the servers who wait on us because it always takes us a good 30 minutes before we have even opened up the menus after we first sit down. Typically there is a good span of time between meetings, so we have a lot of catching up to do. It’s always fun to hear what each child is up to – and reassuring to know that it’s not only my child who is doing the weird stuff.

ImageStephanie is a single mother who has raised her child, for the most part, on her own. This amazes me. As a single mother she has managed to buy a home and pay her bills while taking good care of her child. This is something I could not accomplish by myself for myself, much less for me and another person. Her strength is amazing.

ImageJody and I were pregnant during the same time period. Of course, this isn’t something you would have known – either by looking at us or by listening to us. I was, per my usual style, as big as a house. Jody – as anyone who knows her can imagine – didn’t look pregnant until she was about 2 weeks from birth. I, of course, complained nonstop; Jody, naturally, dealt with the pregnancy like nothing unusual was happening to her body. She is, what I like to call, a baby machine.

Her third child, Bennett (the only boy!) had severe food allergies that limited his diet to only breast milk. The sacrifices Jody made for this child in her own diet were sacrifices I’d like to think I would make, but I just don’t know. Whatever she ate affected his body. So she couldn’t eat most of what she liked for quite some time. That’s love and devotion. 

Our dinner dates are nothing less than giggles, dessert, and catching up. Each of us has experienced tragedy, each of us has experienced triumphs, and each of us has a funny story to tell – typically about our children. And when we get together for dinner, we listen, we laugh, we comfort, we hug, and then we say good bye. And though it may be another 12 months before we see each other again, we know that it will be the same dinner date as the last – laughter, dessert, conversation, and happiness. And it’s hoped that it continues for many, many, MANY years to come. 

Facebook Friends

Facebook friends. Some people collect them like they’re collecting dandelions. Some people are much more cautious. Some people unfriend for reasons like politics. For break-ups. For no reason at all. Some people know these Facebook “friends” well; some people are friends only in periphery. Some people don’t even know the people they have on their friends list.

The friends I have as my Facebook friends fall all over the graph – some of them I’ve known since kindergarten. Some of them I’ve met through marriage; some of them I’ve met through my children; some of them I’ve met through my children’s friends’ parents. Some of them I’ve worked with. Some of them I went to college with.

No matter what, I like to think I know my Facebook friends pretty well. But in an effort to prove that to myself, I’ve given myself the task of taking pictures of each friend I’ve acquired on Facebook.

This isn’t going to be easy. Some of my friends live far away (Hawaii; Hungary); some live with me (my hubs!). Some of my friends live just down the street; some live in the next town; some I see every day; and some I haven’t seen in years.

I”m not going to put a time constraint on this. It’s going to take some time. But I will finish this. Even if that means I will no longer be able to accept new friend requests … I will see each friend and I will take their picture!! I will do it!!

And I will start with the easiest ones …

Going in a New Direction

I’ve realized in my short time “working” with my camera that photographing people and then handing over my photographs to them is not what I want to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE taking pictures of people. I love taking pictures FOR people. But I am, by nature, a journalist, I guess. And I have discovered that when I take pictures, I also want to tell a story. And taking pictures of friends/families for their friends/families doesn’t always allow me to do this.

I see a lot of things in this world and I meet a lot of interesting people. And I’ve always been amazed at the stories they have to tell. But sometimes it takes asking just a few questions to hear what it is they want to say … sometimes the people they’ve met make them the most interesting. Sometimes their careers make them the most interesting. But sometimes, just taking their picture when they’re least expecting it is what makes them the most interesting. And the most beautiful. And those are the moments that this photographer wants to capture.

So until then I’m going to keep taking pictures. And I would love to take pictures of anyone who wants their pictures taken. But soon I’m going to embark on another adventure, down a different road. And this blog may have a different appearance, but it will still include my photographs; it will still include my words. It will contain more of a story, though.

Because pictures really do paint, at the very least, 1,000 words. And I want to try to capture all of them.Image