Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

The Fourth of July Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

4 July 2018

Never has the Fourth of July felt less like a joyous occasion than this one. We won't list the offenses to our sense of civilization. If you follow the news, you know them too well. We'll just observe that the odor wafting through the country precludes any picnic.

Last week we took a walk along a historic slip of shoreline that documented the ancient Indian tribes that inhabited the place and the fished-out oyster beds that followed them and the Liberty ships that brought industry in their place before a modern tech industrial park replaced it all.

And along the walk we looked up to see the American flag reflected in an office building. It was a huge flag and it spanned several large windows. We stood in awe.

But there was something odd about it. It wasn't a mirrored reflection.

Nobody (statistically speaking) likes their own photograph. One explanation is that we're only familiar with our mirror image, the person we see reflected back at us in the mirror each day as we brush our teeth and comb our hair. Photos, showing the reality, flip that. And we find it disconcerting.

Indeed, photos do flip the right and left, graciously leaving the top and bottom alone. But not this image of the flag, which shows it flying in the familiar forward orientation.

By now, you've probably figured it out. The flag was blowing in the opposite direction, stripes first then stars, so the reflection shows the familiar one of stars first then stripes.

As we took a photo of the reflection, we saw a flag broken into pieces being blown by an ill wind. But, as the national anthem has it, still waving.

We were buoyed to read last week this advice from a wiser man than those who command our attention these days:

Do not wait for the perfect message, don't wait to feel a tingle in your spine because you're expecting politicians to be so inspiring and poetic and moving that somehow, 'OK, I'll get off my couch after all and go spend the 15-20 minutes it takes for me to vote.'

What this independence we celebrate today is all about, after all, is being heard. Casting your vote. It is saying to the king that without our consent he has no realm.

When we sign our absentee ballot or sign in at our polling place, we add our name to the Declaration of Independence. And it's as large as John Hancock's.

Like the cause from which this nation was born, just causes survive the ill wind of any rule. Many years ago a man who would be president exhorted us to remember that "the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

The flag blowing backwards still waves over the land of the free and the home of the brave but, reflected in dreams that do not die, it also waves in the right direction.

BackBack to Photo Corners