It is not ironic at all that Charla the professional photographer hates being in front of the camera. So to help out – much to her chagrin – I do that job for her and snap a shot of her before she notices.
My favorite shots are those when she is shooting something else, camera aimed at her subject, maybe a bag over her shoulder, coffee in the other hand, or squatting low to the ground, or climbing up something or, wait for it —
standing in the middle of traffic to get that perfect shot, while I and the girls waver between abject panic and amusement.
Creativity doesn’t have time to worry about danger. She once squatted in a field in Montana twenty yards from a gigantic bison happily shooting away while the unconcerned bison, rather than charge and trample her to pieces, just shrugged and kept on chewing the grass.
Creativity grows where it is encouraged. Charla and I filled our little home and our schedules with creative projects: web sites, photography, music, cooking, writing. I never knew what an art wall was until she put one up above the long table where our computers sat.
My own creativity took off and I kept finding new things to do and new ways to look at the world. At all hours of the day and night; I came up with the idea for Thirty Days of Us during a bout of insomnia at 2:00am while the house slept.
My favorite of all my favorite Charla-and-camera photos is the one I didn’t take.
Charla is standing in a shoe store, holding a DSLR camera and taking a picture of herself in a mirror. With a foot cocked to one side, handbag draped over her arm and even with the large camera covering her face and hiding her expression,
you can tell that this is moment she is being bit by the photography bug. That happened in Barcelona, exactly ten years ago.top