Bubble

Bubble FinalIf it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad — Sheryl Crow

I like soap bubbles and had just found a remnant from a kid-friendly gathering. Not missing a chance, I blew a froth of bubbles skyward. A half-inch stream jetted from the wand and separated neatly into shiny little globes floating gently upward … except for one.  It started drifting away with the others but stopped in mid-flight, its stall unbefitting a soap bubble. I found something to stand on and discovered the tiny sphere’s gossamer anchor: a slender thread of spider silk reaching from roof to deck. I grabbed a camera, a set of close-up tubes and a macro lens and started shooting.

This is a photograph of the bubble. If someone looked deep enough, they might find a metaphor for life and the fragility of our existence or maybe freedom thwarted by unforeseen circumstance. I won’t find that inside. It is just a photo of a bubble. It was a curious sight and fun for me to figure out a way to shoot it.

Professionally and personally, I advocate for taking photos of whatever makes you happy — yes, even instagram food pics.  I don’t always know why I am shooting someone or something, but if he/she/it moves me, even a little, I want to figure it out with my camera, deciding later if I am a genius or delusional for crawling, climbing, jumping to get at it and then working it to death.  In the end this photo may not have lived up to the effort of making it, but I’m satisfied — maybe not with the image but at least with the subject. Bubbles make me happy.

copyright 2015  Kris Craig / The Providence Journal / 2 Much Time design

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Dog Years

Dog Years

I work as a photographer five days a week, and when I’m not working, I play with photography.

This is my dog Isis. She was a little younger when I tested out some new remotes by setting up a camera and a few strobes in the living room, then holding up her Frisbee and whispering, “playtime!” Isis turns 13 years old this year, which, depending on who you ask, makes her around 79 in people years. She is a Portuguese water dog, a hard-working breed that needs to be both mentally and physically active to stay out of trouble.

When I watch my 79-year-old dog chasing Frisbee throws, I see she doesn’t care about her age. Isis lives for fun and doesn’t know any other way to be.

I know one day Isis will be gone but how great would it be if her final act included tackling that Frisbee while racing across a field.

At 55, I’m looking back over the crested hill. My life is probably shorter before me than behind, but that’s certainly nothing to dwell on. Things change, and who’s to say 55 isn’t just a halfway point in a very long life? After all, that’s only 24 in dog years.

In memory of Jyoti Hansa 1934-2014

Copyright 2014 / Kris Craig / Providence Journal

The King

arts

Juan Cotto and I had never met. I don’t know where he lives. I don’t know what he does for a living. I don’t know the first thing about him other than I really liked the way he looked when he smoked. Something clicked when I saw him. A beckoning whiff of a cherry-laced aroma drew me to the man wearing the spotless red sneaks below the knee shorts, and a black hoodie. His razor-edged beard and a pair of aviators top off the look. He’s channeled CeeLo Green and looked just as smooth.

Wedged between his fingers was the second half of a well-smoked cigar. Settled back against the black of a wrought-iron fence that bordered a small parking lot and situated just within the shady reach of a small sidewalk-bound tree, he’s comfortable and cool. I watched him pull on a cigar and exhale a thin, blue line. Something in my brain kicked in. I see it and I want it. I am single-minded and selfish like a toddler taking a first trip to a toy store. The whole world is my mind’s photo collection and can’t go on until I get what I want. My camera is a new toy, a pill for what ails me. I see the picture I want and all its possibility: color, black and white, long lens, short lens, motion blurred, and panned versions of the photo appear in my head before I’ve even pressed the shutter button. Blinders on and full speed ahead. I walk up and stop in front of Juan and ask if I can take a photo of his next puff. He nodded, the king of the corner, approving a royal request, and took another long draw on his cigar. As I walked away, he called behind me. “That’s for the Web or something?”

Yeah, sure. Something, I think. …

copyright 2014  Kris Craig/ The Providence Journal

The Guardian

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I almost missed the dog, thinking it was a smudge of white paint spotting the darker surface of the gray granite stone. It was brilliant white, its surface bleached and pocked by the weather, and in the tranquil posture of a pet at peace with its position in life. I’d seen the body language before in my dog as she lay at my feet while I read. How did this little statuette come to occupy such a starkly prominent place on top of a family marker? I cut short an evening run through this East Providence cemetery to fetch my camera, already forming stories to explain its presence. A random placing of a child’s lost toy, perhaps. Closer inspection reveals purpose in its placement, a limestone carving not merely set on but mounted to the mossy granite surface. The names on the stone place the last family member interred there in 1980. Is the dog a tribute to a family pet? Homage paid to a loyal friend waiting for its master in eternity? The encounter offers me a chance to explore and reveal facts, reasons, discover the reality to refute the imagined versions swirling in my head. In the end, though, I do nothing more than take a photo, choosing this time to let the sleeping dog lie.

Copyright 2013 Kris Craig / Providence Journal