Last night, I spent a little time looking through archives of old
pictures I've taken. I do this maybe once or twice a year — for me,
it's a good way to keep myself in check and see firsthand ways I can
improve. But every time I do this, memories come rushing back.
I'm not the type of photographer to hang my own photos on my
walls or clutter my apartment with picture frames. My professional
archives are in binders underneath my couch and my personal archives
are in dusty photo albums packed away in my closet. But with every
photo is a memory — whether the photo is of a complete stranger or
someone I love, my archives document my life, whether I'd like to
remember those moments or not. With each photo, I remember how I felt
the moment the camera clicked.
I shot the photo below last week. When I was taking it, memories
of my years down in Florida flooded my mind. I spent two years working
in a city which consisted of approximately 70,000 retirees. Although I
wouldn't trade this experience in for the world, I felt as though I had
retired before my life ever began. But these people were lovin' life.
They had been there, they had done that, and now, they were ready to
soak up some sun and hide from their grandchildren. It is a mystical,
magical, frightening place. I learned to
appreciate and be thankful for every stage of life. They were no longer
worried about the numbers on their paychecks or how they looked in the
swimming pool. If they liked basket weaving, they basket weaved seven
a week. If they liked softball, they hit the diamonds 365 days per
year. If they liked to belly dance, they shook it until the sun went
down. And I photographed it all.
I learned a few life lessons down in Florida, but more importantly (for this moment, at least), I learned how to make photos of senior citizens doing nothing but ... walking.
Nikon D2H, 125 mm, 400 ISO, f2.8, 1/4000, Manual
Dan and Marge Shadd, of the Franklin Seniors Walking Club, get some exercise Thursday, July 31, 2008, right outside the Milwaukee County Sports Complex, Franklin. The club, which meets from 9 to 11 a.m. every Thursday, is open to all Milwaukee County residents.