Saturday, May 13, 2006


Today was the deadline to submit photos for the South Loop Neighbors Living History photo contest. I had won this contest two years ago, the first time I participated. At that time I thought of myself as an accidental photographer. The image was one of those taken because I was at the right place at the right time with a camera. It was unintentional.

Now, I suffer from a level of seriousness that inhibits me tremendously. I think I enjoyed taking photos better when I didn't want to be a good photographer. Instead of submitting mediocrity, I was going to skip out on the contest this year. But yesterday Roy, our friendly bank manager, shouted at us from his car for me to get my photos in.

Okay, so playing doesn't always have to be to win, right? Here goes... This is what I submitted:

I burnt out this image while playing with the levels and accidentally overwrote the original - oops.

The photos should document life in this neighborhood, and it's a plus if they can include any historic buildings or elements. Both include a fountain in the area that we play around frequently. I take many photos of this fountain, hoping that over time I will have a series that include seasonal changes, changes in the neighborhood (hopefully not too many), and changes as my daughter ages.

Self Critique

These are the photos that I didn't submit:

This was taken at a pet adoption event. I love that the girls are pressed to the window looking at the kitten and the kitten looking back at them. It is the emotion of longing of both the child and the animal that I wanted to portray, but I'm not sure that without an explanation, just anyone would pick that up.

I like the juxtaposition of the playgound equipment with the historic clocktower but the image quality was poor and looked grainy when printed. Also the image of the child was unremarkable (except that she is my own) and playing with the highlights and shadows just further reduced the image quality.

A fun image, but doesn't show any of the children's faces. That's good in one way because none of them are recognizable and so no parent can really protest. But on the other hand, without facial expressions, much of the delight is absent.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I returned home the other night, stuffed from movie theatre popcorn, dinner, drinks and dessert. I urged my family to go on a walk with me to relieve my gluttonous guilt and so they did. Chloe was anxious to get out her bike. She wanted to show George that she could now pedal on gravel – something never before attempted until earlier that day. The outfit she wore was a strange composition of floral pants, yellow frog rubbers, a polka dot slicker, and a pink cloth napkin draped over her head - held in place by a sparkling tiara. This was not at all unusual to her parents as her creative combinations amuse us daily. I had run into the house to drop off my stuff, so the two of them got a head start. Walking towards her, I was greeted by a neighbor whom I had never met. The woman was laughing as she approached, “Your daughter has made my day.” she repeated several times enthusiastically.


I met another couple and they too were chuckling and remarked on Chloe. Wondering what all the fuss was about, I looked to find her at the end of the gravel drive, pedaling with a mighty force as her back wheel spun out beneath her. Her training wheels caused her to be stuck. She was determined to be unstuck. Hunched down over her handlebars, her elaborate headdress flapping in the breeze, she pedaled, pedaled and pedaled. But alas, she did not budge. In her determination to impress her father, she wasn't about to give up. A slight push from George, and she sped gaily on her way.

Because I am her mom, this is daily fare. To see how delightful she is through others eyes I am overcome with gratitude. Childhood is incredible.