Sunday, July 31, 2011

Freeze Frame






I could see it was a rough-cut Tuesday
Slow-motion weekdays stare me down
Her lipstick reflex got me wound
There were no defects to be found
Snapshot image froze without a sound

Freeze Frame! Freeze Frame!
Freeze Frame! Freeze Frame!
Freeze Frame! Now Freeze!

I am usually the one taking the photos.  Just like my dad, I find it more interesting to take photos than to pose in them.  I prefer to be the clown behind the camera getting others to smile or better yet, grabbing that innocent pose they weren't expecting.  This interest is helpful, as God did not necessarily grant me a face ready for GQ magazine or the patience to sit and say "Cheese!”  Fortunately, I was lucky enough to marry someone whose good looks and patience were past down to my kids so when Genzyme called requesting a photo shoot I was OK to sit back and watch. 

Our photographer Chris flew straight from recording the tornado damage in Tupelo and arrived at our house Sunday morning at 10 AM with two bags of camera gear and an energetic spirit.  I don't know why, but as soon as I met her I knew this would be great.  From her caring manner and true interest in the girls' condition you could tell she was here to do something special, to capture a place in time which we would never forget.  Carter and I quickly found ourselves moving camera gear and relocating furniture while the girls settled on their clothes, per the photographer's advice.  It was, "Way too much blue," "Green just won't work," "Perfect for you, but what about the location," etc. until we settled outside for the first shots.  

A few months ago Genzyme contacted us to see if we would be open to having the girls be part of their Pompe promotional materials.  At first I was a bit reluctant.  Other than those that follow this blog, their diagnosis has been invisible to most of those around them, which is just fine with me.  We made a decision early on that they would remain their own people who happened to have a condition named Pompe, not a patient who is also a person.  The decision was taken with the understanding that while this condition may increasingly impact more of their life over time, they will never allow it to impact all of their life.  It will never define them.

Our first photos were quick shots of the family - the five of us, the kids, and even a few with the dog thrown in for laughs.  Then, for several hours she took photos of Maddie by her garden, Emma and Maddie playing board games, and others.  One of her goals was to show the girls in different situations, being mobile, using their hands well, and enjoying themselves.  After all, a smiling photo is a message everyone can appreciate.

By the end of the photo shoot we had relocated across our house and backyard several times and shared a few great stories along the way.  In the process we learned about her adventures around the world and she learned about our adventures in suburban USA.  When she departed there were genuine hugs all around, a phone number to call next time we visit Chicago, and a promise that she would do her very best to produce worthy photos.  She could see that our kids held a little magic among them and she wanted to make that come to life.

We recently received a CD of photos and three framed shots for our home.  She was true to her world.  Behind the shading and the dimension, the color and the location, the magic is there.  It is even there among a family (with very good Photoshop skills on dad).  It is there in the confident look of girl with her smiling brother and there with the comfort and happiness shared between two young girls who have faced more worry in their short years than necessary. 

I'm back to where I belong, behind the camera keeping track of life as it goes by.  While I know I will never have the skill of our photographer, the next time I take that shot, and see that Freeze Frame in my view, I'll remember a good day in summer when magic was captured and all was well. 

Thanks for the memories Chris!
Matt

Credit to: The J Geils Band, "Freeze Frame"

Here are a few photos from our day.