Scott, a professional photographer with Scott Thomas Photography over at Views Infinitum blog, features photo assignments for readers and bloggers. Even beginners can post photographs on our blogs, linking back to the assignment. His most recent assignment reads thus:
The very first assignment I posted last year was for everyone to do a Collective Shoot. Ready to do another one? This time the subject is Your Hometown. This is different than landmarks as I am looking for one, two or more photos telling us about the place you call Your Hometown. If you live in the country, show and tell us about the closest town.
Looking for new photographs. Be creative and have fun! March is a transition month for most of us. What better way to get out and enjoy it then with a fun photo project.
I haven’t participated in any of Scott’s assignments before. We’re new friends; new blogging buddies. So this is a first.
The deadline for the assignment is tomorrow at midnight. I began pondering this project down in Florida.
Of course the first question which arose was: Where IS my hometown? I usually think of my hometown as a lil’ tiny bitty farming town in the Thumb of Michigan called Yale. (Assuredly not the university.) However, I have not lived there since 1975.
We live ‘way out in the woods, a dozen miles from the nearest big city of L’Anse, Michigan, population 2,107 in the 2000 census. Is L’Anse my hometown? It certainly is our zip code.
Our “real” hometown is a tiny blip on the map–if it even exists on current maps–called Aura. Aura features a fire hall and a community hall. That’s it. No stores. No gas stations. No McDonald’s. No post office. It’s basically farmlands and forest.
Nonetheless, for the sake of this photographic assignment, I decided to focus primarily on L’Anse. (Although couldn’t resist a couple shots of Aura and enjoyed a lovely talk with the owner of the old general store. He said it’s for sale. I volunteered to pass along the word.) I had ventured into town yesterday to walk with my friend, Lyn, and not a single photo turned out.
Sigh…not a good start for the assignment.
Hopped back into the car today and parked it behind the Green Easter Egg. See Photo #1. If you look closely you will see a smiling woman getting out of her car and heading my way.
“What are you doing, Kathy?” asked Joanne, “Taking pictures of Easter eggs?”
I explained the assignment and we chatted for about five minutes. Continued on the walk, snapping pictures. See the photo of the little cars in the window? The owner of the shop, Jay, came outside as I took the photos.
“What are you doing?” he wondered. (I tried to explain in one sentence.) He said business is a little slow right now. It seems to be all over town…Baraga County’s unemployment rate is at 28%. He’s hopeful that things will pick up in the spring.
Across from the Easter Bunny overlooking the bay, a fellow township official appeared. We chatted for another five minutes about this and that.
Then I decided to buy a cup of coffee at Espresso on Main (our new coffee shop!) Debbie, the owner, saw me leafing through a flyer about the new Intention Yoga business next door to her shop.
“You should go over there right now if you want to sign up for a class,” Debby said. “She’s there today.”
So off I went to sign up for a yoga class. Yes! It’s a private lesson, next Tuesday. I warned her of an inability to touch toes, but the owner, Shanel, did not seem fazed.
“We’ll go slowly,” she smiled.
After picking up a few groceries I drove back home. And realized something very important.
#1: I had not taken a single photo of what truly defines a hometown: people who care about you. People you care about. I had been so busy photographing the exterior of my hometown that I’d completely missed the opportunity to take pictures of the precious people. Plus I’m kinda still kinda shy about this… (Next time, Scott, OK???)