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  • Writer's pictureRobert Jones

"Lazy Monkey!"

The gift theme from last week continues! "It's funny 'cuz it's true!"

In 2007 my dear friend, Doug, came across a photo I had taken using a Sony Cyber-Shot - a basic point and shoot digital camera with a whopping four megapixels. It was the photo that would change my life. Check it out below:

That sun flare is EVERYTHING! Still gets me. Love the drama. Granted, I'd do things differently now, but Doug saw that photo, and was impressed. Seeing some of Doug's own photography, I had to ask him if he was serious? Doug is an extraordinary photographer, and a man of few words. He does not dispense compliments unless evidence presents itself otherwise, or there's money involved. Given I had no money, I knew he was serious. He encouraged me to continue shooting. He also encouraged me to up my camera game, which is a rabbit hole I'm still paying to get out of.

Since I was six years old, I have always had a camera. My first one was the Kodak Handle, which was a cheaper version of the Polaroid. I had specified Polaroid in writing. It was to be a birthday gift, and I wanted no doubt as to what I desired. My parents were notorious for asking me what I wanted for my day, and consistently delivered an unwanted, reasonable facsimile no matter the item. As a child, disappointment was my best friend. Perhaps it was their way of helping me grow up? Nothing like disappointment to thrust a child into adulthood. "Get used to it, kid. Expectations, like happiness...they're daydreams best left in the gutter." That lesson would prove most useful during my dating career. "Thanks, Mom and Dad. 'Never trust a hope.' Got it."

The Handle weighed as much as I did, and it required the user to crank out a photo as opposed to the Polaroid which was just a press of a button.

For a six year old, it took more dexterity than I could muster.

At one point, I sat down, and attempted to use my feet to get a photo out of the thing. "Could someone call Jane Goodall? She'll want to see this."

When I complained about the "user experience", my father (a military officer) who believed nothing was worth having unless it involved burning a calorie, pain, or bloodshed, accused me of being lazy and ungrateful. I was six. What did I know of cameras let alone calories? To sum it up, I managed to burn through the film in an afternoon, and the camera remained on a shelf where it still sits today in my father's closet. A testament to my indignation, and my parents hoarding disorder.

Emotional scars be damned, photography was pure magic to this kid. Still is. While I never took it seriously until Doug spied that photo, I don't have any regrets. Just missing a few toenails is all.

**All this family history has me craving bourbon, and Willie Nelson. Excuse me...**

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