WHEN A DREAM COMES TRUE

There was a piece on NBC’s Sunday Morning show about a guy who always wanted to be an NHL goalie. He never made it. Instead, he wound up as the equipment manager for a Carolina team. He wasn’t a player, but he got to hang out with them, be part of the team. Then, one day, the goalie was injured. They needed a backup goalie.

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Not even enough time to call one up from a minor league team … he got the call. Mostly, he sat on the bench, though he got to sit there in a full goalie’s uniform with his name on it. And for the final 7 seconds of the game, he was a player. He didn’t make the goal that saved the game and no one offered him a contract … but he could finally say he’d played in the NHL. As a goalie. His dream came true.

Most of us have dreams and occasionally, they come true. Or very close to true.

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V-J Day in Times Square, a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was published in Life in 1945 with the caption, “In New York’s Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers”

I got to hang out with Alfred Eisenstaedt on Martha’s Vineyard and talk to him about his photographs I had bought several books of his pictures (we eventually owned several of his actual pictures) and he went through the books, looked at each picture and could tell me what film he used, which lens, camera … and most important, what it was that inspired him to shoot that picture in that way.

About his arguably most famous “street shot” of the sailor kissing the lady in white on V-J Day in Times Square in New York:

V-J Day in Times Square (also known as  V-Day and The Kiss) portrays a U.S. Navy sailor grabbing and kissing a stranger—a woman in a white dress—on Victory over Japan Day (“V-J Day”) in New York City’s Times Square on August 14, 1945. I asked him how he got the shot.

He said “I was walking around Times Square with my Nikon. Everyone was celebrating, and I was looking for something special, I wasn’t sure exactly what. Then, I saw the sailor in his dark outfit kissing the woman in white. I swung my Nikon into place and just shot. I had the right lens, the right film. It came out well, I think.” Yes, it came out well. Very well.

I will never get that picture or any picture like it because I can’t “just shoot.” It’s not for want of trying. I see a shot, but I stop to think. One second of thinking is more than enough time to lose the shot. In a second, the hawk takes to the air and the kiss is ended. That special look on his or her face vanishes.

In short, I think too much to be a good street photographer. Fortunately, I think just enough to be a pretty good landscape photographer. Even a sunset moves slowly enough for me to get a few pictures before it goes to black. Which is why I always carry a camera.

Blogging has given me other pieces of my dreams. I didn’t become a best-selling, world-famous author, but I have gotten to chat with authors whose work is best-selling and widely read. And who I admire. Every once in a great while, I get a “like” or a “tweet” from a favorite author. I’m as thrilled now as I was the first time I made contact with one of my favorite authors.

I suppose I hope by being in contact with greatness, a bit of the star-dust will rub off. On me

24 thoughts on “WHEN A DREAM COMES TRUE

    • The trick — and I’ve heard this from several big time photographers — was to set your camera to as wide-open a setting as possible, choose your lens and film with care for the situation in which you’d be shooting, and then just shoot. Now, of course, we have automatic setting and in “shoot from the hip” situations, they are probably the best choice. Except I always use spot metering because it works out better for me — most of the time.

      I’m just too slow. It’s not physical. It’s that moment when i try to frame the shot and lose the whole thing. Garry is MUCH better at just grabbing the shot than I am, but I think all those years in news taught him to shoot first, edit later 🙂

      And we ALL have more hilariously bad shots than great ones. Fortunately, with digital, we can afford to shoot a lot more frames and with luck, at least a few of them will come out as well or better than we hoped! I count on it … and apparently so do most photographers, especially those who work in news, sports, wildlife, and other things where grabbing the “moment” is critical.

      My other hero is Ansel Adams (no – never met him – he was well before my time), but he shot things that held still. Mountains. Vistas. I’m better when they don’t fly away if I’m too slow 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • I found that setting the camera to burst shooting, I missed a lot fewer shots, but turning it on and off was a pain in the butt. if I forgot, then when I went to download, I had an insane number of pictures. Some of this stuff would be more useful if there was a simple button to push rather than a menu option buried deep in software 🙂

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            • Cameras have so many settings, but they are so difficult to find on the fly. Someone needs to seriously rethink the user interface. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’m good with software, but there are far too many menus and too many settings we will need maybe once and never again … and too many useful setting are buried in sub menus it takes way too long to access. I have friends in the software design business. I wish i could get them to fix this 🙂

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  1. Meetint Mr. Eisenstaedt must have been great. I wish I had a Mr. Eisenstaedt where I live. We only have local newspaper reporters and the only live shots they make are at local football matches. The important stuff all comes from the international news places. I would love to meet someone really famous for something so worhwhile – an author or photographer. In the meanwhile I meet them through your great blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I met Eisie because Garry was doing a story about him for his TV station. Eisenstadt had just received the Presidential Gold Medal which is equivalent to your British OBE. I was thrilled. He was in his late 80s which at the time, seemed ancient and now seems just around the corner. He was still mobile, but not strong. His sister in law had become his companion and helper. She was a sweetheart, but sometimes, she needed a break. Eisie was fun, but not easy-going. So we did afternoons with Eisie so Lulu could take a break, go into town and just relax without having to worry.

      He was still sharp and remembered everything connected to his photography, probably better than he remembered more recent things. And all these years later, I’m beginning to be the same way. Funny the way memory works, isn’t it? Garry was my ticket for most of the famous people I personally met, but most of the authors have been through blogging. I review their books and about half the time, they write to thank me for the review. Some of these have resulted in actual friendship, which I treasure.

      It is very nice, especially now when we are relatively isolated from most people we knew. And as I get less mobile with time, the online relationships matter more and more. I can’t even imagine how people like me coped before there were computers and an Internet!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think many of us are fans. Fans in the traditional sense. Not the autograph seekers. When we meet heroes like Eisenstadt it’s a special moment that will be etched in our sense memory.

        The luncheon with Eizie and Patricia Neal as our guests was one of those very special moments. Talk about name dropping.

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  2. Great, I would love to meet someone like that. It must have been so interesting. We have a guy in Switzerland who is quite well known for his photos. He is also now long retired, but made his name with criminal photos originally for the police Arnold Odermatt

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    • That’s pretty much what he said. Of course, he had chosen that place because he expected it to be the right place. Part of the magic is putting yourself where you are likely to get the shot. Something Eisie was VERY good at. Wherever the action was, so was he … and his camera.

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  3. Thank you for sharing such a touching story. I love Eisenstaedt’s work. Beautiful and creative and most of all, memorable. You have some wonderful memories, Marilyn. As well as memories shared, how completely wonderful that is.

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    • Sometimes, you know while it’s happening that it’s going to be a treasured moment. That was one of those. I knew it was always going to be a high point for me. He live another 8 years and we got to know him moderately well … not close, but friendly.

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      • Isn’t that wonderful! I’m sure you added as much pleasure and delight to his life as he did yours. I’m positive that interactions are always a two way street, as yours are for me. I visit the world through your eyes, and that’s definitely a good thing.

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