Thursday, April 14, 2011

Photostory Friday: A different kind of place

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

It's different than everywhere else, and I keep asking myself why?

Walking through the tunnel, into the Disneyland Park, feels different.

I find myself at a bit of a loss for words in trying to describe the experience.

It feels right.

It feels magical.

It feels like home.

But why? Why is Disneyland different than other places? Why do I sometimes find myself homesick for a place 700 miles from where I live?

I've always been a fan of Disney in general, and of Walt himself in particular. If ever there was a man who embodied the American notion that with a lot of imagination and hard work, your dreams really can come true, it was Walt Disney. He spent his life creating and dreaming and improving. He went from cartoonist to media executive to urban planner, always plussing, always dreaming bigger.

And in 1955, in an old orange grove in Anaheim California, Walt opened Disneyland. And nothing was ever the same.

In Disneyland, they can speak, with not a hint of irony, of wishes granted and dreams coming true, and we believe them. When you're there, riding through the landscape of Walt's imagination, watching Princesses and Dragons and Mice and Lions come to life, and immersing yourself in the curious atmosphere of nostalgia and anticipation -- all that was wonderful, and all that is yet possible -- you believe that your dreams can come true.

That they ARE coming true.

The thing is, it's not dreams of riches or luxury or of an easy life, or of fame or power that are coming true. It's a very simple dream, one that we all share.

It's the dream of happiness -- real happiness --  the kind of joy that is born of love and memories and long association, and the knowledge that we are lucky to have one another.

After all, Walt didn't call his kingdom the "coolest place on earth", or the "most fun place on earth..."

He called it the Happiest Place on Earth.

And that's what sets Disneyland apart from all other places, why it feels like home. It's a place dedicated to happiness.

As I walk that magical park with my family, I find myself smiling so much that it almost hurts, and as I look around at those dearest to my heart, I see the same thing on each of their faces -- in the steps they take and the words that they speak. 

They are happy, and that is a dream come true.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Photostory Friday: Feet?

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Are you ever scrolling through your photo files, and suddenly a pattern emerges? I know that I take a lot of pictures of hands, and a lot of pictures of people walking away from the camera. But, it turns out, I also take a lot of pictures of feet...

Actually, I owe this observation to my lovely wife Sharon, who...


...crochets these adorable dolls...

...and, who mentioned the other day:

"You take a lot of pictures of feet."

And so I do. But why?

I have been completely unconscious of this fact. So, I looked into the psychological factors of foot fancy, and it turns out that all psychologists are perverts, and I can't print what they say here.

This is a family blog.

I'm pretty sure THAT'S not why I take pictures of feet.

The truth is, for better or worse, I think of myself as a storyteller. And the still photograph can be a very powerful storytelling tool.

I see the life going on all around me as a great story -- millions...billions...of smaller stories, running around and into and through each other, weaving a living tapestry, writing the biggest story of all.

Once in a while, I'm asked to help tell someone's story.

I thrive on that opportunity, and I try to make each frame count. Each click of the shutter is another sentence, a statement, sometimes an exclamation point, another moment, another piece of the story.

I love to see that the closer you get, the more story there is to tell. For me, the big picture is nothing compared to the very small one. Our story is told in everything we do, and all that we are. Every word we speak, every look or gesture, each hair on our heads, our hands and eyes and belly buttons, and even our feet help to tell the world our unique and beautiful story.

And I guess that's why I take pictures of feet.

Or not...