Monday, October 13, 2014

Michael Crichton's view of photography

He says it in The Lost World, Michael Crichton wrote in 1995 how "the fossil record is like a series of photographs."

A fossil is a photograph?
Fossil of Domke brothers 1890's

He observes how a fossil is like a photo because they are both "frozen moments."

He sees, "looking at the fossil record is like thumbing through a family photo album. You know the album isn't complete You know life happens between the pictures. But you don't have any record of what happens in between..."

Well that's what words do, they fill in the gaps. But unless they are written down "you begin to think of the album, not as a series of moments, but as reality itself . . .you forget the underlying reality."

Fortunately the Domke brothers names were written below on the border of the photo, but like a fossil, we wonder what was their life like? They are in suits, were they loaned by the photo studio? But I know my great-grandfather was a minister, however, none of his kids picked up the cloth. My grandfather is on the far-right. Hated school, was an entrepreneur who had kids shinning shoes around Chicago. Bought a business and moved to Greeley, Colorado, I can only guess he thought it was a safe a secure business. Like shining shoes, he sold tombstones. Everyone dies, right. This is what I have to read into the fossils and family legend.

Did Crichton mean that by only seeing the birthday party, or yearbook photo it documents being six years old, it's only for the birthday party. Makes you think that being six years old was a party? Seeing the other people in the picture hopefully brings back memories, I'm in the picture. I remember adventures, playing with blocks in school, and games we played. But it isn't written down and what will others see when they look at the birthday photo.

What do my grandfathers brothers tell me? I have to know they were my relatives,  just looking at the photo doesn't say who they are. I then start fitting rumors and speculation together. I inherited grandfathers eyebrows...it's like finding bones.

But like the challenge to match the fossils together, it was a long time ago and nobody is around to fill in the gaps. So what does that old studio photo taken of grandpa when he was a teenager standing with all his brothers tell me today. Over a 100 years later.

I have another family photo, taken in the early thirties in Kruner, Colorado. A farming community northeast of Greeley, Colorado, that didn't survive the depression.

But my mother grew up there, where her father was the school principal and mother was a teacher. It looks like it was a growing community. How far did the kids go to get to the school house? I have a photo of the entire student body and faculty. Located near the South Platte River they didn't know that it didn't rain much, only 12 inches per year and the river went dry in the summer.

Fossil of Kruner Colorado

Not a studio shot a lot more information. Tells a lot more of the times, the everyday dress. Who were the teachers. Solid brick school house out in the desert!

It tells me a lot about my mother growing up. Friends she may have had at 11-years old, etc.

This is a good fossil.