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01/26/2005 11:10:36 AM · #1
Long Post...
I took this Breaking New Ground challenge a little differently than I think most people. I expected to bomb because the image itself was not 100% breaking ground, but the meaning behind it was for me. Even though it was taken with a new lens and all, it is not like I have never done a macro shot before. Int he challenge description it mentioned that the technique would be later explained in the photographer's comments, so I did so. I wrote a short memoir to go along with the photograph, and that's what was breaking new ground for me. As an author, this was my first ever attempt to write something strictly about me and a past experience. it seems that sometimes you need to read into images a little bit which is what came to pass here.

The image I am talking about is this one:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/300/thumb/137708.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/300/thumb/137708.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Here is the story behind it, found in the Photographer's Comments...

This is more than just a macro shot with my new Sigma 105mm. I thought that I would share this with you all.

Last Wednesday, the day before I left, my mother went in for some surgery that had been planned for a couple of months. I saw her on Wednesday night and she had been doing fine, despite her fear of surgery and hospitalization. Even though she looked good, she still was not her usual motherly self. You could obviously tell that the long surgery had taken a toll and that she was quite tired and weak. It was hard seeing someone close who is normally so active and strong be this way. I personally have had very bad experiences in this way with hospitals which is why they are one of my least favorite places in the world...
Back in the summer between first and second grade, on the last day of my camp that I had been going to, my mom and I were getting me ready and packed to catch the bus that would take me there. Just as we were about to leave the door, my mom got a call and she became very quiet and kind of just stood there. I can still see the blood draining from her face as I stood there, a bag in one hand and a baseball mitt in the other, waiting anxiously for her to come and bring me down to the bottom of our driveway. About a minute went by, with someone obviously explaining something to her on the telephone and then she finally said two broken words, "Thanks, bye." My mom then proceded to give me a long look that I would have previously thought as one of scold, had I not seen the look of fear in her glazed eyes. Something was definitely up and I noticed it. She then told me to drop my stuff as I was not going to be going to camp that day. Bewildered, I did as she told me and then before doing anything, she took the checks that were my counselor's tips for the summer and went down to the driveway to have the bus driver relay it to them. I stood in the house not exactly sure what was going on, but I knew that whatever it was, it was not something good.

When my mom returned she merely told me to put on my jacket and get in the car. I got in the car after she unlocked it and then she joined me in the car in the garage. I braced myself for the glorious sound of the engine revving up that I always loved to hear as it marked the beginning of a car ride to someplace familiar or new; someplace else in the world. We were both completely still for a moment and I wondered why she wasn't turning on the engine. I realized then that not everywhere where we would go would necessarily be a good place to be. The silence that lasted in the car in the garage seemed eternal. It was the kind of silence you expect from being in a closed car. It's the kind of silence that you can hear. It is so deafening that you need to scruff up a piece of paper or shuffle in your seat so that you can double-check that you aren't going deaf. It was the silence that signifies something not being right. The silence was like a black box.

Suddenly, the engine revved up and I felt a rush of adrenaline flow through my body. I figured that wherever we were going, we were not in a mad rush to be there, which seemed to comfort me in a way. Out of curiousity I asked my mother where we were going. She replied quietly and simply, "Somewhere," and I could just barely make it out over the engine echoing in the sanctuary of the garage. She pulled out and I found myself on a journey out into the world. Being only seven at the time, I was not so worried about why my mom was acting so weird and I wasn't that conscious of what might have been going on. Every trip in the car was a journey for me and I let my mind wander...
I had a great imagination as a child. My young friends and I, ever since we were very little, found ourselves always playing in complex and make-believe worlds that were our own Utopias of sort. We ruled the lands and went to war and found ourselves trading and writing constitutions amongst other things. You may call me a preserver as I never throw things away and I still have a very good portion of our imaginatory ideas and ventures saved. It is by looking back on these things that sparks memories.

The car came to an abrupt, but soft stop as I peered around from behind the passenger seat to see the red light we had come upon. I knew that we hadn't been in the car very long as I only had counted eighteen road signs on our way. When I looked out my window, I realized where we were and became nervous. I recognized the name of the hospital nearest my house and the thought once again breached my thoughts that maybe this journey would not be one to the pool, or to the pizzeria. I began to hope that we would keep on going straight, towards the next town instead of taking a right up the road to the hospital. I asked my mom where we were going again. She did not respond to me and I became worried. Then, inevitably as the light turned green, we turned down the road to the hospital.
I can remember the windy road down to the hospital on the paradisal sunny summer morning. The trees were overflowing with their leaves of shelter and the Earth was as green as our beach towels that we had used the weekend prior. The woods were inviting, yet another possible platform of exploration. The scene was serene and subtle as the sun could gently serenate the landscape with its dappling rays from which all life once came. Irony is ever present at a hospital; a place where life is born and life is lost...
All of this distraction did not deter the thought of going to the hospital. I had absolutely no idea what was happening. As we began approaching the Emergency Room, my mom began to go into histerics and I was for the first time that day scared. No kid wants to see their mommy cry right in front of there eyes, it never could be a good thing. Once she got around to parking and brought herself together, we walked into the ER, she still ignoring me.
She told me to sit by the window as she went and talked with the pretty lady at the desk. I went to sit in the chair and started watching cartoons on the little T.V. that they had in the corner of the room. At that age, it was really hard to find myself concentrating on one thing at a time. From behind, I heard some ambulence sirens and I whipped around to see one zooming in and coming to a screeching halt right outside of the window I was sitting next to. I saw as the workers jumped out of the ambulence and rushed to the back to get the person out from the vehicle. They took a bundled figure out on a stretcher and quickly reeled them into the E.R. through a special passage with a big window. I strained to see what was wrong with the person out of curiousity, but I only saw an arm, whose pulse was being taken. What a rush!

When the excitement of that passed, I looked to my mom who seemed to be getting upset with the person at the desk. I didn't understand why she was angry with the pretty lady. I started hearing sirens once again coming from far away. I turned around and brought my nose to the cool window, smushing it up against the glass. Once again, I saw the uniformed workers jump out of the ambulance and to the back. They reeled out yet another person and started into the passage way. I quickly switched seats to the big glass window that separated the passageway from the E.R. room that I was sitting in. When the stretcher was reeled in, I strained my neck in order to get a look at what had happened. What I saw then mortified me.

It was my father. Bloody, unconscious, and wrethched looking. My heart and stomach seemed to drop to the floor as I saw him being reeled by. It was suprising that I could even recognize him, for he was so badly hurt that his facial features were barely recognizable. He seemed to go in slow motion and once he passed, I turned to see my mom. She was standing right next to me, stern and silent, and we hugged then and there and I never wanted to leave her arms ever again...

* * *

It turned out that my father had been in a bad biking accident. He was always an avid cyclist and rarely got hurt. We later found out that he had fallen down steep slope after losing his grip on the road. Luckily, a woman who lived in the house by his fall saw him lying unconscious in the middle of the street. She was the woman who called my mom to notify her of what had happened, and the woman who indirectly saved my father's life.
As for my dad, he suffered multiple injuries. He broke his collar bone in three places and nearly all of his ribs had been fractured. He had deep cuts and wounds on his knees and elbows which left him scarred to this day. Much of this left him inactive for a time, but he was a very healthy person and recovered within the timeframe of a year. I have to owe my thanks to Robert (zap) at whose house I spent the rest of the day and it helped keep my mind off of my dad in the hospital.

Later on a few years later, in seventh grade, we found out that my father had an impending aneurysm in his aortic valve, so surgery was imminent. So my father had open heart surgery in January of that year and I visited him often (after he came out of the Intensice Care Unit however) and even then, after my first traumatizing experience a few years earlier, I was very uncomfortable being in hospitals. My dad is one of the most healthiest people I have ever known and in being so, he greatly improved his chance of survival of the heart surgery. Even though at the time I knew he was healthy, it was still hard to see him, immobile and helpless with a tube in his mouth.

This brings me to the point that hospitals are not one of my favorite places in the world. I have really only seen the downside of them and not the opposite. When my mom was staying in the hospital last week, she shared a room with a new mother just out of labor and that reminded me somewhat that hospitals were not *bad* places as I might have perceived them through my naiivity.

It is great how such a simple thing as light hitting a surface and forming a picture can provoke such memories and feelings. I hope that you have enjoyed this as it is deeper down than I have reached in quite sometime. This is also one of my first attempts, as an author, at a memoir type composition. I felt that instead of the usual explaination, that I just had to let myself run free and here you go; straight from my brain to my fingers. Being that I think that I have now beaten Laurie...you may proceed throw stones at me for writing so darn much!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled internet program...

Thank you to whoever reads this

Have a great day,
01/26/2005 11:15:13 AM · #2
wow...thanks for sharing such an intensely personal and moving story. it just goes to show, there's a lot, lot more in these photos we so casually breeze over while speed voting...
01/26/2005 11:18:45 AM · #3
If only every 14 year old boy in the world had this much insight, depth, reflection, clarity, and wisdom, the world's future would be much more secure. Thank you for courage in sharing your story, Lee. :hug
01/26/2005 11:27:54 AM · #4
Originally posted by laurielblack:

If only every 14 year old boy in the world had this much insight, depth, reflection, clarity, and wisdom, the world's future would be much more secure. Thank you for courage in sharing your story, Lee. :hug

Laurie summed it up exactly! A wonderfully well-written piece. Thank-you for sharing with us.
01/26/2005 11:59:55 AM · #5
Tranquil's story made me "see new things" too.

And it was a lovely photograph which I scored high in the voting.
01/26/2005 12:17:31 PM · #6
Originally posted by Tranquil:

Int he challenge description it mentioned that the technique would be later explained in the photographer's comments, so I did so.

I took that to mean because it was a challenge to try new stuff, people would want to know how you got your results.

I'm going to read your story now!

Edit: very moving and well written.

Message edited by author 2005-01-26 12:22:45.
01/26/2005 12:29:34 PM · #7
You're a great writer. The details in this piece are superb. I also find it hard to write deep personal stuff but I think that when you do it ends up being some of your best work. It is interesting to see this carry over from the world of writing to the world of photography. Working in the hospital, I can tell you that your feelings about the hospital aren't naive at all. The hospital is a bad place that we all hope to never go but on occassions all to rare trips to the hospital can make a difference and save people's lives so in that sense it is good. Overall it is an ominious and depressing place but that's why we need pleasant caring people to work there. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your family is doing well.
01/26/2005 12:35:10 PM · #8
I thought I was reading the memoirs of someone around my own age (48), and my jaw just dropped when I read that you are the age of my daughter. What a wonderful gift you are to this world. My best wishes to your family also.
01/26/2005 12:53:22 PM · #9
01/26/2005 04:13:50 PM · #10
Originally posted by crabappl3:


Bravo! indeed.
01/26/2005 04:25:56 PM · #11
What a gift for writing you also have Lee, thankyou *hugs*

01/26/2005 04:33:25 PM · #12
Speaking as a poet and editor, with that hat on, Lee, congratulations on a very evocative piece of writing. You do very well with words.

01/26/2005 04:58:27 PM · #13
Wow! Everyone has already said it all...except "Damn that was good!"
I am no writer, but I like to read, and that was excellent! Keep up your wonderful work.
01/26/2005 05:28:12 PM · #14
Beautiful writing... Beautiful photo...

Your attention to the details in both make them touching pieces
01/26/2005 09:33:40 PM · #15
Very deep thoughts, thank you for sharing this with us. A very excellent photo as well.
01/26/2005 10:09:22 PM · #16
I totally agree with everyone else, I was entranced by your writing. I think it's wonderful how you were able to draw us all in. To top it off you're a fantastic photographer and you're so young! The world truly is your oyster :)
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