Light & Shadow #13

Afternoon Nap — Caldwell, ID Circa 1987

There were times the picture of the day had nothing to do with the assignment.

A reporter and I were given a story about a lady living at a retirement home in an adjacent town. I have no recollection of the particulars, though I can mentally recall the picture I made of her.

We were invited to have lunch prior to the interview. On our way through the facility to our subject’s room, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Symmetry. Aging. The passage of time. Habit.

The afternoon nap. My paternal grandfather took one every day. In fact, on a day in 1968, he slipped from this world during one. Except for the passing part, I suspect the ritual was the same for these two. I’d go so far as to say that they ‘owned their domain’ — no one else would dare trespass those chairs.

I chuckle at that idea. Years later as a commercial photographer, I was shooting a retirement facility for an architectural firm. In my photojournalism days, the pictures I made would be the result of observation only, but in architectural photography, efforts are taken to make things just right.

I moved a chair. Just a little. I put it back, doing my best to do so accurately. When I arrived for my second day on the project, I was confronted by a little ball of fire.

‘You moved my chair,’ she exclaimed!

I hope my internal snickering didn’t leak out as I mustered an apology.

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