Feature Story

and the shutter whirs....

forgotten destinations
Alone on the beach
the ghost tree
shy smile
always dream...
round and round
~*childhood wonder*~
stay gold....

Click. And the shutter whirs. A sound he is well acquainted with. It has become balm to his soul, manna to his starving heart. Nine years ago he was not the man he is now. Nine years ago...let's just say no one would have stopped to talk to him. To pause to speak to him. To smile for him. To try their very best to actually capture his attention.

And rewind the film of his life. To the crash that ripped the only thing that mattered to him away from him. Austin was only six. Six years old. Far too young to have blood smeared all over his broken little body. After that, he became a shadow of a man. A recluse. Quitting his high-powered writing job at the magazine and roaming where the winds of change took him. He took very little with him of his old existence. Most notable being his son's teddy bear Harry, and his father's old camera which he had been given after his dad's passing.

Town to town, city to city, desert to desert. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. Ignoring the entreaties of his editor to send in something. Anything. Until...one night in the desert he started snapping photos to save....to share in his mind with Austin. And then he took more. And more. And the passion of all he was seeing came out. And the more he looked around him, the more he could see that he was not the only one in pain. He saw it in the old man's huddled form on a park bench as he passed him by. He saw it in the young pregnant mother's face as she pushed the stroller and tried to hide her black eye. He saw it in the downward cast gaze of the teenage girl as she stood alone with her thoughts, pain etched in her silent features. And he captured it all. At first, so he wouldn't feel so alone....and then.....so maybe someone else wouldn't.

And then he began to realize that you can capture all of life. The laughter, the triumphs, the passions....not just the pain and the heartache and the tears. And he began to also see joy through the viewfinder....the stolen kiss and shy smile, the arms spread out in exultation of life, the children in their own world at play; and he captured those to store as well. Another emotion...another moment...another story...captured and saved forever.

And then people began to recognize this man with the camera hanging about his neck. They began to smile for him and try to get his attention and want to be in his photos. But he still liked the ones that weren't looking for him the best. The ones that weren't posing for a shot. The true emotion, not the plastic forced kind. The ones that showed the real people behind the photo. The ones that told a tiny piece of their story. Because he had realized the truth, that each and every life is made up of many emotions...good and bad. We all have a story to tell, with a myriad of expressions and feelings making up the plot. He paused, about to take yet another shot of just one tiny fragment of someone's tale....and thought of his beloved son, gone now, but with him always. Of how he would explain it to him....since so often even yet...all these years later...the photos were shared in his mind's eye with his son. "Because Austin", he whispered, "this is real life....this is what matters...Be real wherever you are... I'll always love you." Click.

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—The JPG team

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