When I asked to take a photo of the woman in charge of the volunteers at Longwood Gardens, she replied, “Sure. What are you going to do with it?” I was surprised by her question, but it is certainly relevant today.
Years ago with a film camera, my answer would have been, “It will probably sit in the camera for another six months until I finish the roll, then it will take another two weeks to get the prints back from the drugstore. I’ll quickly look them over and drop them in a drawer. By the time I rediscover them, I won’t remember who you were, and I’ll throw it out. So, lets just forget the whole thing.”
I said it was just for my own use, and that simple assurance was all she needed. We were in her office, and she turned at her desk and immediately struck a perfect, totally natural pose. All I did was release the shutter, and had one of the best portraits I have ever taken. (I also cropped out her computer screen that may have shown too much information. Digital photos are so detailed now, I can often enlarge them to show my own image reflected in the eyes of the subject.)
She appears to be in her mid-40s, but from her accomplishments, she must be older. The photo comes up on my computer rotating background series about once a week. Like a photo of a Longwood orchid, it conveys a feeling of tranquility, as it would even if I did not know her. It would be an ideal accompaniment for this blog, but I never asked her permission to publish it, and I have to maintain my credibility.