Often perfect images of our character | In their own words

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“The character, like a photograph, develops in the dark.” – Yousuf Karsh

He was very likable at first, but as the story progressed it became apparent that his fun-loving personality was just that – personality.

His character started to evolve quite quickly and by the fifth chapter his dark side was evident. Appearances were deceptive. Of course, this was just great character development on the part of the author of a fiction, but the character of a person in real life is not always evident in the first few either. chapters.

A person’s character develops over time, as Karsh likens it to the development of a photograph – in the dark.

In 2004, Kodak stopped manufacturing film cameras. This news shocked me because a film camera is a classic, and I just couldn’t believe they would stop production. Just as compact discs have replaced vinyl records, digital cameras have pushed aside film cameras. The computer with word processing programs did this on the typewriter.

But you know what? I like typewriters, vinyl albums and film cameras. I believe that modern fancy inventions have a place, but earlier objects still have an appeal for me – and I believe for many others as well. As we celebrate National Camera Day on June 29, I am happy to revisit the history of this magical device that brings our stories to life, as well as to reconsider the character of things and people.

Cameras, like photographs and characters, have been developing for many years. In fact, the Chinese were working with pinhole photography in 400 BC. It wasn’t until the 1800s that we began to see more concerted efforts to figure out how to actually save the image being created, and in 1888 George Eastman patented the Kodak Roll Camera.

However, humans haven’t stopped trying to develop better methods of capturing the stories that unfold in the scenes that unfold in front of them. Since almost all cell phones have a camera, photography is accessible to almost anyone.

I love to take photos and capture moments. The tear that clings to a cheek tells the story of the fear or uncertainty that a child felt moments before someone managed to distract their attention. The expression of relief on the face of the owner who found his missing pet says more than a few hundred words could adequately convey. Look around you. What stories do you see unfolding?

Developing an eye for stories to capture takes time for most of us, and character development is pretty much the same. You don’t wake up one day and magically know that you have the great character traits like reliability, honesty, integrity, respect, and citizenship. Someone hopefully told you that having these character traits would help you be a better person and help you in your endeavors, just like someone had to teach me how to frame a picture so that I didn’t. accidentally cut off a person’s head in a photo.

Sometimes, however, we like to break the rules of photography to achieve different results, and sometimes the same is true with approaching a person’s character, although the result may not be as appealing.

Sometimes it seems like things change in society, as if being a good, honest, respectful and trustworthy citizen isn’t as important to people. I find it difficult to understand what I see happening sometimes, so I have found it particularly interesting to discover in my research that others have seen this change. It seems to correlate with the change in the functioning of society – from a society of production to a society of consumers.

In Warren Susman’s “Culture as History” he says: “The old culture – Puritan-Republican, producer-capitalist – demanded something she called ‘character’, which emphasized qualities. morals, while the new culture emphasized “personality,” which emphasized being loved and admired. It was the transition from the 19th century to the 20th century, and I wonder where we will go from here.

With the strong presence of social media, it seems more evident than ever that our society is more concerned with being loved and admired than with having moral qualities. I wonder if we are asked to choose, what we would prefer in others (and ourselves).

I recently watched a story on “CBS Sunday Morning” about Trent Preszler, a man who makes peace and establishes a relationship with his late father by building beautiful boats – by hand, using his father’s tools. Watching him work, seeing the craftsmanship that goes into every room spoke to me, the same way that using a typewriter speaks to me, writing with a fountain pen speaks to me, using a camera speaks to me and reading a real book speaks to me. me.

I love technology and love the experience of what some would call the old.

Nowadays, many in society seem in a rush to get the job done, and that really helps in a lot of situations, but I think there will always be something that causes us to slow down sometimes. The Instant Pot is great when you forgot to make a dinner plan or just need to cook the rice in a hurry, but there are some soups that taste so much better when simmering for a few. hours. The character of the dish has time to develop, you might say.

Whatever you do, I hope you take a minute when you’re done reading to grab a camera (a phone camera is fine) and look for a scene to capture. Maybe it will be the way the sun shines on the leaves of the trees when it begins to set, or maybe it will be your dog or cat sleeping in the funniest position.

Either way, I hope you get it printed and kept as a reminder that capturing a story, printing a photo, and developing a character doesn’t happen as quickly as it sometimes thinks. It takes time, effort, and usually encouragement from someone more experienced.

And when you get to the end of your story, I hope your the character is stronger, nicer, and more trustworthy than the villain I found in chapter five.

Susan Black Steen is a writer and photographer, originally from Tennessee and a graduate of Austin Peay State University. Convinced that words matter, she writes and speaks to bring joy, comfort and understanding to every life. Always, she writes from her heart in the hope of speaking to the hearts of others. She can be contacted at (stories@susanbsteen.com).


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