Friday, December 18, 2009

Where have all the children gone?

Out from the sea came a little green Crab
Taking the Sun the morning being very drab
Old rusty cans, pebbles 'bedded in the sand stand and stare
The Tinker and the Crab
From "The Tinker and the Crab", Donovan Leitch

The soul is healed by being with children.
From Dostoevsky, "The Idiot"

Photo Project Two. "Photograph #5: photography of a pet or child. The objective of this picture is to capture the personality of a young child or animal." From the New York Institute of Photography Fundamentals of Digital Photography course.

Which I enrolled in just recently. For fun.

I've glanced through the course notes and assignments. Photograph #5 is the last of a series of photos that are assessed.

I'm stumped. This Is the "New York Institute of Photography" is it not? I realise that people from all over can enroll as it is a distance education thing. But I'm in New York.

Where am I meant to find a child?

I'm trying to push Photograph #5 from my mind. But it keeps creeping in. There's too many thoughts I've been trying to push away lately.

I do see children. They are on buses, in strollers. Occasionally there's even one in the elevator in our apartment block. They are not as common as dogs but they do exist.

I refuse to take a photograph of a New York dog! I have SOME standards.

What about a cat? Are there cats in New York? A person cannot easily keep a cat in Manhattan. They tend to jump out of windows, posing a danger to passers-by, let alone to themselves. Hardly anyone lives on a ground floor here.

What other sort of pet is there? I could go to Chinatown and buy a tortoise or a crab. But they don't have personalities. A fish? Same thing.

It's going to have to be a child.

Though I'm tempted to buy a crab ...

Anywhere else, anywhere other than New York, I'd have no trouble finding a child. I love children. They are my favorite people. But here they are far-away things. They belong to another life. Like vacations in Bali. "Dropping in" on friends. Driving old cars with yellow canary stickers. Smoking in restaurants ...

I HAD thought I could get by in the course by photographing "found objects". I love photographing "found objects". Photographing "found objects" is second only to naming photos, "Untitled".

But Photograph #5 can in no way be of a found object ... I've re-read the assignment description several times. Not a hint of ambiguity.

Perhaps I could put a notice on the apartment lobby notice board. "Wanted - one young child for a photograph." Yes I can just see the offers come flooding in.

Yep, I'm well and truly stumped.

Looks like it's the crab ...

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