this thing for pictures

We went to Richmond to see an afternoon play, Shakespeare in Love, at the November Theater on Broad Street.

A beautiful sunny Sunday. We arrived at the theater early and took a walk around the block, or more accurately through the alley behind old furniture stores and warehouses now being renovated.

Where there is renovation, there must also be restoration and respect. The idea isn’t to wipe out the old but to make use of what is worn, to enhance patina and celebrate age and wear and tear, such that old and new live in harmony.

My husband cautions me about walking down alleyways. Don’t go alone. He is, of course, right. And yet, even on this day, my open heart serves us well. A gentleman exits his home to load a parcel in his car. He is caught off guard by my presence, and I quickly make introductions and explain my love for picture-taking. Within minutes, he and his wife invite us into their refurbished home and lovingly point out details of the care they’ve take to make the most of this fine old building. They tell us the history of the area and beam with pride over the results of their tender care and work.

A camera is only a tool, nothing more and nothing less. And yet this thing for pictures has led us down so many roads to meet so many kind souls where we see deep beauty and heart-wrenching sadness and we wonder where we might be without it. I raise my camera to explore the contrast between old and new.