Quiet Desperation

If I’m accused of taking pictures, I can’t claim that I was framed

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 8/7/18

Take a picture. It lasts longer. That’s my motto. I have over 10 million photographs, maybe more. My friends call me “F-Stop Fitzgerald.” I take pictures everywhere I go. I mean it. In the …

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Quiet Desperation

If I’m accused of taking pictures, I can’t claim that I was framed

Posted

Take a picture. It lasts longer. That’s my motto.

I have over 10 million photographs, maybe more.

My friends call me “F-Stop Fitzgerald.”

I take pictures everywhere I go. I mean it. In the flowers, in the showers, in my car, at the bar, at the game, at the concert, at the park, in the dark, at the zoo, on the shoreline, at the borderline, up the creek, over the river, through the woods, wow.

In the gallery, in the museum, in the church, in the steeple, in the diner, in the library, in the attic, in the john, in the aisles (nobody smiles), in your face, now.

I can’t stop and I don’t want to. If I didn’t take pictures, I wouldn’t know where I’ve been.

Take away my camera, and I would disappear. There would be no more me.

What do I do with all of these photographs? I’ll get to that, right after I take pictures of the Tinker Toys, the toybox tomatoes, and the toilets on the Toyota.

I have pictures of Lily and pictures of Dorian.

In focus, out of focus, close-up, and far away.

Every town I’ve been to. Every sandwich, every pickle, even an Indian head nickel. I have to, I must, I’ve even taken pictures of rust.

I have pictures of this and that and next to nothing, sideways smiles and smirks, bottles of wine, fruits of the vine, robes and capes and bikinis.

There are pictures of nuts and bolts and salmon and Dave.

Manicures and pedicures, daisy chains and maypoles, tetherballs and Tanquerays.

Moths and mosquitoes and mosques and Judge Alieto.

Swifts and swallows and swans. Lords and ladies and Don Juans.

Clinics and gizmos and nights on the town.

Oh, fireworks, my favorites, and plenty of clowns.

Republicans and Democrats and leaky submarines.

Apples and grapes and ripe tangerines.

Click, click, it’s me. Selfies? I got ‘em. I’m embarrassed to tell. Hundreds and that’s just this week.

Here I am on the couch. Here I am standing next to a stranger holding a chicken. That’s me on Saturday night. That’s me on Sunday morning. Ouch.

Friends come over and I get them too. Cubby and Karen, that’s who. Daltrey and Townsend, that’s Who.

Clubs and cults, waiters and waitresses, brides and grooms, judges and juries.

There are others like me. I’m not one of a kind. We’re everywhere and we’re everything. We’re up, we’re on, we’re twenty-eighteen.

Bother you? Too bad. Get a life.

I’m here to document. I am here to record. If I wasn’t taking pictures of everything in sight, I’m sure I would be bored.

They all go into files and folders, by day and by time. There are headings and subheadings, and topics that rhyme.

Bowling balls and melon balls. Cockpits and cocktails. Leos and Virgos. Buffaloes and Rams.

Hoover and Coulee and Oroville Dams. Balloons and lagoons and the “Golden Pond” loons.

A Scorpion with a camera wanted to get across a river, but couldn’t swim, so he asked a nearby Frog for a lift.

Halfway across, the Scorpion started taking pictures.

“Why not just enjoy the ride?” the Frog asked the Scorpion.

“Can’t,” the Scorpion said in a supplicatory tone. “It’s not my fault; it’s my nature.”

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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