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Gravity

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In the world of photography, distraction is an unkind word. It’s compositional enemy No. 1, the stuff that gets into the frame and competes with the subject: clashing colors, stray objects …. Think wedding photo with a tree limb protruding from the bride’s head.

But before the shutter falls, distraction can be a godsend.

I am easily distracted, and sometimes it’s a blessing. Sometimes the best shot of the day is born in the light that flickers at the corner of my eye or the movement in a far reach of my peripheral vision, a force tugging me away from the gravity of what is supposed to be the subject.

One day recently I was following the action of a girls’ lacrosse game at Wheeler Farm, focused on the far end of the field, when a group of long jumpers pulled my attention away from the game. One by one, they soared across a canvas, the background being the white wall of an equipment shed. And even that distraction had distractions — other track athletes running through the scene and, of course, the lacrosse teams doing battle, the thing that was supposed to be my subject.

For the next few minutes I photographed the game but kept an eye on the long jumpers tracing dark arcs against the brilliant shed. At the halftime horn, the lacrosse players headed for the sidelines, and the distraction became the subject. Above, Wheeler School’s Lucas Kranseler, fighting gravity, every bit of him reaching for horizontal distance, makes his day’s final descent to Earth.

copyright 2017 Kris Craig / The Providence Journal / 2 Much Time design

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Boys of Summer

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I’ve seen that look before: in the eyes of 9- and 10-year-olds, Little Leaguers who’ve lost their season closer; teens whose high school playoff bid came to an abrupt end; and college players after a final out finished their playing careers. For the Boys of Summer, it can be brutal when the season’s over.

In the seconds after the final out that clinched Game Six of the World Series to give Boston another championship, Red Sox Nation unleashed a blast of cheers that filled the air and a roar that blanketed Fenway Park. But in front of the St. Louis Cardinals’ dugout, I saw what silence looks like.

We sometimes criticize professional athletes for giving in to greed, playing only for the money and fame, and letting the “spirit of the game” take a back seat to the business of it.

At the end of the game in the St. Louis dugout, the “professional face” seemed to disappear from the Cardinals’ expressions. They stood, leaned and sat – motionless – nothing happening throughout Fenway could pierce the noise-free bubble in their dugout. They felt the frustration of loving a game that has only one winner. Their game spirit drained, they seemed senseless. They probably weren’t thinking about bonuses, endorsements or salaries at that moment, just about the game they love to play and lost, and maybe about the time when they were just boys – these Boys of Summer. …

Copyright 2013 Kris Craig / Providence Journal