Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Novel In One Photo

See the desk next to the girl? It's not hard to imagine those scratches on the side coming from years of bored students passing the time carving their initials while trying to look attentive to the droning of the teacher. And see the ink wells and open books arranged haphazardly on each desk? It's as if the entire class just got up and walked out of the room moments before this photo was taken. And from the look on the girl's face, that's exactly what happened.

Judging from the sullen expression on her face, the unfortunate subject of the photograph quite obviously wants to be anywhere but the center of a portrait . Her friends and schoolmates are all outside for recess and she's had to stay behind forced to sit completely still for what, to a young girl, seems to be an eternity. She can hear the yells and laughter of the other kids out in the schoolyard and is doing her best to ignore the sounds and look straight ahead and "look natural" as the photographer has ordered her to do. Her facial expression has quickly turned from natural to a grumpy scowl because it's hard to look natural when you're hot and your best Sunday dress is itchy and you can feel sweat trickling down your back. And your hair is a mess even though Mother very carefully put it up this morning and ordered you to make certain it stayed that way.
After all, you were the special one chosen for the honor of being photographed with one of those new-fangled things called a camera. But no one told you it would take this long. All you want to do is kick off your shoes, hitch up your skirt and run down to the river and take a dip in the cool water. But no, you can do no such thing, at least until this silly photography business is over with.