Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lost In Pictures

I am still fighting off this cold and last night around 10:00 PM I got to the point of just needing to go to bed. I headed towards bed, laid down, and instantly woke up. I was a bit aggravated, but I decided to go through a book that was beside my bed.

The book was The Century by Peter Jennings and as I turned the pages, doing less reading and more picture viewing, I became transfixed on several photos in the early section of the book. What does transfixed mean? Truly, as I stared at the people in these photographs, my mind began to thnk of just who those people were and the lives they had led.

A photo is a strange thing as it captures that moment; not a second before, not a second after, but that very moment. In that moment there is so much to take in and my mind tries to do so. As I stare into a photo, and for me to get into this "Lost In Pictures" stage it usually has to be a very old photo, it becomes very much like eye contact.

There was one photo from the 1910's of a bunch of kids that was truly overwhelming. I thought of all the stories that could be told from just that one photo. Then I made the mistake of making eye contact with those in the photo and just as I say when it happens in person it was very much like looking into their soul.

Shaken, I turned the page and then saw a picture of a Gulf gas station in Louisville, Kentucky from 1926. My first thought was, "I bet they weren't paying $4.00+ a gallon" then I looked closer at how the cars were almost posing for the camera. Again, my mind began to think of the story behind the photo. Who owned each car? I've heard the over used line of, "A picture is worth a thousand words" but I see it as, "a thousand empty words" because I want to know the whole story. What came before? What came after?

When I was in school I would constantly skip ahead in the Social Studies book to see the photos and even at my younger age older photos made me sad. Yet, even though it did make me sad, I would look in awe at those moments in time captured forever. I don't know if this is just me being me, or if this wonder and overwhelming sensation of older photos is caused by me being on the autism spectrum? So I ask you, have you ever gotten lost within a photo?


  1. Sometimes...whenever I look at an old photo I wonder what it was like to be in the persons shoes at that moment.

  2. Aaron everytime I read a book with or look at photo's I do the same exact thing, I have to know the ending, the stuff in between I can fill in on my own later, I have to know the beginning and the end, I can't do surprises if I do not know what's happening I get extremely stressed outa nd it just makes me very uncomofortable to no know how things are going to end up, I ruin most movies for people because the whole time I go throught he scenarios that I think are going to play out and I do it until I figure it out, so it's kind of crappy for everyone around me. But, for me I would probably have a stroke if I just sat there and waited for the answer. I usually don't go to movies are theatres because I can't stand to be around a bunch of people I don't know if makes me very uncomfortable to say the least, even taking my son down to throw the first pitch was a very odd moment for me, I had no idea how to react so it was a much of a blessing for me as it was for jordan and yourself that you took him to the mound, because I doubt I could have done that, it was almost too much for me to even be on the field. But your book and now your blog are helping me understand some of my own quarks so thank you for all of the things you have made possible for me.

    Travis Brooks

  3. sister is a photographer who take pictures to marry with my writing on my blog....she has taken pictures that can "stand alone" some of her most recent pictures(which I have not posted yet on my blog really tell the whole story...I would not even need to write something to go with the photograph

  4. When I was 10 years old, my 4 year old twin cousins drowned. My grandfather also drowned trying to save them. I have their pictures carefully stored away but when I look at them I am saddened. My Aunt and Uncle (their parents) have both passed on and they had no other siblings. I am saddened to see that their little family unit is all gone. I stop to realize that my sister and I are the only living persons left who even KNEW those little boys. After I am gone, my children will likely throw those pictures away. Some day someone will come across pictures of me and wonder who that person is right before they throw ME away.

    Yes, old pictures are sad for most of us, I supose.

  5. Kimberly Likens MassoudApril 28, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    I think it's genetic! Reading your entry was like reading something I could have written two days ago. I'm looking for pictures for a bulletin board and going through a book called "150 years of Photojournalism". The pictures are from the late 1800's to 1950's. They tear at my soul. Sometimes I can hear things, and smell things when I look at them. And if I look too long, I get very very sad. People rarely smile in old photos because it was not in vogue, and because they had to sit very still. I think that has something to do with my sadness...they are a bit like ghosts...encompassing the entire breadth of the joy and sorrow of humanity in their eyes. I don't know what causes this reaction, this near obsessesion with looking and KNOWING. I don't think everyone does it...but I certainly do and I'm not on the spectrum. Perhaps it is the ability or innate condition of compassion? Not everyone is capable of it. You and I both have quite a bit. Sometimes it is very eerie to read your blog...and often it is strange how similar we are, and yet weren't really raised much together or even the same home mom and dad had completely calmed down by the time you came along!

  6. It's so weird feeling different throughout your entire life... I was never diagnosed, but I always felt somehow unlike everyone else.

    Having personal relationships, meeting strangers, facing people, understanding the unsaid, the many unlogical meanings of a sentence, the several shades of grey in the human facial expression... That's all so hard to me! I only found my self watching a documentary about autism when I heard that there are many people that are in the autism spectrum. Not clearly disfuncional autists, but persons that are considered "normal" but now tdeep inside that they are in some way different...

    I think that I'm a high funcional autist. With a 130 IQ I don't know if I could be considered an Asperger. But if there is so, my highly developed skill would be linguistic. My native language is Portuguese and yet in my teen years I got fluent in English and Spanish. As an adult, I quickly learned and never forgot the basis of Latim and Hebrew (Ivrit). Also, I cannot write, but hearing I can easily understand and even oraly translate French and Italian.

    I'd like to know if there's any method I could use to unlock the innactive or underused functions of my brain, if there's a way to deviate a part of my linguistic skills into social "fluence"...

  7. @Fernanda Ramos: Aspies can have an IQ of 130. It's very common to have a difference in verbal and performal IQ (I have that too) within people with Aspergers Syndrome.

    About the picture thing; I have that too. I'm a very curious person and need to know every story. The worst thing you can do to me is saying "Well I wanted to tell you.... Nah never mind, it's not important." Seriously, even if it's not important anymore, do tell me what you were intending to say! Also "I know something, but it's a secret~!" is a terrible sentence for me.
    This is also one of the reasons why I love to work behind the screens of a convention. You get to know everything that's going on. No 'technical problems' or 'logistic problems', but the actual reason something happens the way it does! Also, no secret events for me, since I'm the one organising them!
    I think that's where my fixation with pictures comes from. Just like you said, it's just one moment, not the whole story. I always need the whole story. So it gets me thinking a lot.
    But I learned to ignore this urge more and more the past few years. How? Why? My sister began to take an interest in photographing a few years ago. Ever since then I was the person she always asked to evaluate her pictures and also to assist where neccessary. If I were to fixate on every little picture I see, I wouldn't get anywhere anymore! XD
    There's also a second reason. I've had lots of struggles at school keeping up with the pace. If I were to fixate on every picture in the book, I would loose lots of precious time.
    So over the years I taught myself not to linger on pictures for far too long.

  8. What Laura (above) said. Recently I was going through my cousin's and Aunt's photos because they had both died within the year, and my niece was going through photos. There were a lot of people we didn't a lot of photos were thrown out. I am now culling/sorting my own albums (I have way too many)because my kids will throw the lot away anyway.