Last weekend, I was visiting a friend at her beach house in Galveston. She was having a cook-out, and as folks were enjoying the sea air, she was running around with her camera. I watched her as she captured her friends' smiles.
Suddenly she looked away from her viewfinder. "Hey!" she said. "Where's your camera?"
I shrugged. "Home," I sighed. "Honestly, I haven't had much of a desire to shoot lately. For months, actually. Since Harvey."
She looked at me like I'd just grown a second head. And honestly, once I said the words, I couldn't believe it either. But it was true. I couldn't take it back.
Earlier this afternoon I was looking for a particular photo that I knew I'd shot, and as I often do, I search this blog's archives to figure out when I took the photo. (Yes, that's how I archive photos -- by using the blog. Yes, it's an inefficient way to archive photos -- do not follow my example.) I didn't find the photo I was looking for, but I did stumble across a post where I shared photos I'd taken while at another dear friend's cookout several years ago.
I loved revisiting them.
I think the reason I haven't had much of an inclination to shoot is because I'm just not inspired by my surroundings these days. This apartment we're staying in feels so temporary. I mean, it's a fine apartment -- exactly what we need for now, no more, no less -- but it's basically just a holding space: somewhere to dump our stuff and collect our stuff until we move back into our house. Things are crammed on shelves without much thought to presentation. Rugs that I've bought and am saving to use in our new house are stacked against our bedroom wall. Furniture we're slowly replacing is shoved in any free corner. Art pieces we managed to save from our flooded house are hung on the wall, not to make our space feel like home; rather, it's just to get it up off the floor. There's no thought behind it.
But as I looked at those old photographs taken at Trish and Carl's house, it dawned on me that years from now, we might actually have fond memories of this spot, this little crazy, safe space that took care of us as we rebuilt. So today, for the first time in ages, I grabbed my camera, and ran around the apartment, taking photos of little vignettes, without any staging or arranging.
This is what our life looks like these days. And God bless it.
Speaking of home: even while this apartment doesn't feel like home, I am keenly aware how infinitely lucky my family and I are to be healthy and together in a safe place -- a luxury that thousands of migrants and their children currently at the U.S./Mexico border do not have. In fact, many of these children have been separated from their parents, are being held in abandoned and refitted Wal-Marts or worse, tent cities in the middle of the Texas desert. The situation is nothing less than horrifying.
For more on this situation, and more importantly, how you can help, please check out my friend Liz's detailed post. And please help if you can.