Saturday, February 23, 2013


A few years ago, when my Pentax film camera became obsolete, I took my income tax refund over to a nearby Best Buy; I emerged two hours later with a Canon Power Shot, rechargeable batteries, two memory cards, and absolutely no idea what I was doing.
A month later, I enrolled in an Adult Education class and spent the next six weeks climbing the stairs (ever so slowly, one at a time) up into the Digital Age.

Our first week’s homework assignment was to shoot a portrait.
“Capture expression,” our teacher encouraged. “You’re looking for emotion, character!”
My classmates were eager to get shots of spouses and partners, grandchildren, dogs and cats.
Not me. I wanted to do something completely different, something slightly off-the-wall.

The next day, I placed my favorite wind-up toy – a white dog with black spots and a bright red tongue – in a patch of sunlight on my dining room table and took a couple of close-ups.
When I downloaded the shot to my computer and displayed it on my screen, I was amazed: this cheerful little fellow (with his bone tucked under his chin) made me grin. The shadows fell across his face, his brown eyes were fixed on mine.
Talk about character: he nearly wagged!

I tried the bumblebee next: he appeared to be busy, industrious and, perhaps, a little overwhelmed. I’m not sure about his orange feet (is it supposed to be pollen?), but everything else seems to fit. His wings whir and his antennae actually twitch forward and back when he’s powered up!
It’s the eyes, though, that carry this little guy. Again, expression.

The absolute best, though, is The Little Woman atop my cheese grater (given to me one Christmas by my friend Pam). She lives in my kitchen (not Pam, but the grater) and every time I pass her by, her facial expression reminds me of one of those late-1950s TV sitcom women – June Cleaver, say, or Harriet Nelson – looking askance at her slightly misbehaving sons and/or condescending husband!

If there’s a word for this – the depth and spread of emotion and character found in manufactured items – I don’t know it.

If you can come up with one, please send it along.


  1. These are so cute! I remember when I got my new camera, I was into making all of those "tablescapes" and practiced on taking photos of dishes.

    I sure don't know an appropriate word, but it would be fun to make one up.

    Kathy M.

    1. I can see you now, Kathy, lining up those dishes and firing away! Boy, I was a slow learner -- crawled into the digital stuff. Wanted my old SLR back!!!
      Now you have to work on making up that word!

  2. Love these photos! I too have been running from camera to camera, SD cards by the many, but finally now that I have my iPhone- I'm using my camera less, and I had two that I worked with almost daily! Seriously!

    1. Thanks, Karen! I have a phone, but the only thing I ever take photos of is the inside of my pocket! I never use it. I'm not a complete Luddite, but I'm close...

  3. I like the bumblebee, she (he?) looks sweet despite the thing sticking in her guts. The woman (why is there a woman atop your cheese grater) looks like a prop from Mad Men.