Thursday, July 15, 2010

Best Friends

...from a photographer's notebook

There are photographs that make me smile when I first see them in my viewfinder…and subsequently, whenever I look at the finished image.

There is something utterly timeless about this scene, don’t you think? Perhaps mid-20th century? Before everyone was “wired” to iPods and such…an enduring small town ambience, comforting in its innocence and wholesomeness…

It was actually taken close to the turn of the century, in 1999. I was visiting Western Canada and this was on the second day of a leisurely drive from the West Coast to Moraine Lake. I’d overnighted in Kamloops and was driving the Trans Canada Highway toward my destination in the Banff Rockies. In mid-afternoon, I decided to break up the trip at the village of Chase, in the interior of British Columbia, and walk about with my cameras in the inviting afternoon sunshine.

Chase, actually named after an American who settled there in 1867 after coming to Canada to find his fortune in the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, sits along the South Thompson River. OK, I’ll admit the reason to stop here was to capture the bright red locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway pulling their long freight trains along Lake Shuswap, and perhaps to even catch a passenger train amidst that same scenery. But after doing so, the timeless, small town ambience of Chase invited further exploration.

So, about that photo of the two young ladies…

I stopped at a small convenience market for some refreshments. It was a rustic little place run by a friendly Asian couple. After taking some photos in the store, I returned to the sunshine, in time to see the two girls outside the store under the sun awning.

What charmed me about the scene were the many elements in juxtaposition…the “little lady” with her purse (I think she was the shopkeepers’ daughter) and the cute little “tomboy.” Different clothing styles, but clearly “Best Friends.” While I’m certain they both enjoyed the ice cream by Nestlé as well as the soft drinks by Pepsi, my hunch is the “tomboy” might also have found use for those worms (see the sign in window)…at the end of her fishing pole in Shuswap Lake at whose mouth Chase sits.

Recently, while searching out film images to scan for a stock agency representing my work, I “rediscovered” the slides from that afternoon in 1999, including of this lovely moment in the Chase sunshine. While I like the original slide, the “lost in time” nature of the image suggested its treatment in toned black and white.

Perhaps you’ll indulge my nostalgic, sentimental side in adding the deckle-edge border to the “snapshot.”
©2010 Steve EmberAdd Image

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