Photo Essay

The Best Medicine

After Jeff's Discussion With Dixie About Cup Size, He Realizes She's Completely Missed His Point

You should write a book! That's what my kids tell me, as though it were as easy as picking up a pen or tapping a few keys on the keyboard. So I'll appease them with this essay, and express a little photographic creativity at the same time.

An injury caused my early retirement, and left me at odds with what to do with my life. Then I discovered photography, and I was back on track. One day our youngest son suggested I get my husband's little people from his N-scale railroad inventory, and take pictures of them in various settings. I proceeded to follow his advice and the first photos were taken.

My first little people photo essay was about not sweating the small stuff. Certainly not chock full of humor, but hey, sometimes neither is life! That's where this essay comes in. My little people photos started out using visual gags---a lady in a piranha's mouth, a guy sitting in a Cheerio raft, three guys climbing on dog food. They have evolved into language gags, where I use 'lack toes' in place of 'lactose', and present a 'hamburger joint' as an illegal drug rather than a place to grab a bite to eat. Suddenly, people on the jpg site were responding to the photos with laughter and giving me encouragement in return. Never the best at achieving a good night's sleep, I found myself awake at 3 or 4 a.m. with a new photo idea. I started keeping a pad and pen by the bed so I could jot down the ideas. My husband gets up at 5:20 to get ready for work; some mornings I would fake a cough or sneeze so he would wake up early and I could share my latest idea. (That part doesn't qualify as the 'laughter as medicine' thing).

I felt as though I was doing something special. Not on the same plane as volunteering for the Red Cross or helping to feed the starving in Africa, but on an infinitesimally smaller scale, I was bringing smiles to people's faces. And I thought, if one person was having a bad day, or even a good day, and I could make that day marginally better, I'll take that. If I could bring a laugh or encourage a smile, then I was making a difference. I'll take that. If I cause someone who was otherwise having a less than stellar moment to have a more positive thought, I'll take that. Who knows, laughter may not be the best medicine, but it sure feels good!!

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38 responses

  • Michael Adams

    Michael Adams gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    You got my vote. This series is fresh and creative and they do bring a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing!

  • triciamary

    triciamary gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    Susan, you know I love these shots and will miss them while you recuperate. Thanks for all the laughs and good luck!

  • d s

    d s gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    Susan, you have made a difference with your 'punny' series! Your unique concept combined with amazing creativity has no boundaries. You could go on...and on...and on....

  • Karen K Smith

    Karen K Smith gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    Susan, I take my time looking at your little people so I'm assured a good laugh daily! Sometimes too many laughs daily, but always something to look forward to at the end of a hard day at work! Great essay (should be a book or better yet a daily calander!) and awesome creative photos! Gets a big YEAH for the little people!

  • Nasera S.

    Nasera S. gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    Interesting :)

  • George Goff

    George Goff (Deleted) gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    Great story. Now I have a better understanding for the "little people" .

  • Laura Hartley

    Laura Hartley gave props (12 Nov 2008):

    God bless the artis for the joy he/she brings!

  • triciamary

    triciamary said (13 Nov 2008):

    I agree with Karen - these guys would make a great daily calendar! Think you can come up with enough ideas? LOL!

  • Ron LaFond

    Ron LaFond said (13 Nov 2008):

    I'm not sure that you can have too many laughs in a day. I'm really glad you did this Susan! I've been waiting for it. A calendar eh? Might not be a bad idea. Sounds like you have a while to organize all of your thoughts. But on the serious side: My prayers will be with you. I wish you a speedy recovery. And I look forward to seeing you back up and around spreading your brand of joy and lunacy amongst the rest of us "nut balls" here at JPG. Love and regards, R

  • Oregon Curly

    Oregon Curly (Deleted) gave props (15 Nov 2008):

    Susan, an excellent article and count me among the throng that loves your photo humor, perfectly done. I also agree a calendar would be great! Keep it up.

  • Michael Ball

    Michael Ball gave props (16 Nov 2008):

    I think everyone here has about said it all! And I agree, laughter is the best medicine! Well done!

  • Jay Matusow

    Jay Matusow (Deleted) gave props (16 Nov 2008):

    Wonderful stuff

  • Pamela Johns

    Pamela Johns (Deleted) gave props (21 Nov 2008):

    I love it Susan! HA!!!!!!!! You and I have similar humor... go read my story now!

  • Lois Martin

    Lois Martin said (27 Nov 2008):

    Susan, thank you so much for your story and your humor. I took the time to look at your photos and could not stop are truly a bright spot in my life now!

  • Melissa

    Melissa (Deleted) gave props (3 Dec 2008):

    I look every chance I get to see if there are more "little people" pictures!

  • Joanie Hunt

    Joanie Hunt said (4 Dec 2008):

    I love the word play and the photos. And most especially, I love that photography was your saving grace (along with your humor) after an injury. That gives me hope. Like you, I turned to photography again after I got hurt and it's kept me busy. I just wish I'd thought of taking such fun photos before you.
    Thank you for the laughs today!

  • d s

    d s gave props (4 Dec 2008):

    Congratulations on the selection of 'Story of the Week'!!

  • Cindy Coubrough

    Cindy Coubrough gave props (4 Dec 2008):

    Oh thank you JPG for pointing me in the direction of these fabulous photos. Such a nice giggle at lunch.

  • Leslie Granda-Hill

    Leslie Granda-Hill gave props (4 Dec 2008):


  • Angelo Narciso

    Angelo Narciso gave props (4 Dec 2008):

    wonderful! love your wonderful work!

  • Dana Tufte

    Dana Tufte (Deleted) said (4 Dec 2008):

    i look forward to seeing new submissions to the series. I adore them. And you make me happy at the times that i feel pretty crappy. Thanks Susan.

  • Pugh DK

    Pugh DK said (4 Dec 2008):

    Fun series.
    I had the idea of using little railway people for photos about five months ago, after seeing them in a magazine here in Japan. But they are very expensive so I didn't buy any.

  • triciamary

    triciamary gave props (4 Dec 2008):

    Congratulations on Story of the Week Susan! Well deserved. They say laughter is the best medicine and I'll be happy taking doses of these funny "shots"!

  • post

    post said (4 Dec 2008):

    this series is just gorgeous. nyce one.

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (4 Dec 2008):

    Congrats on Story of the Week! well deserved.. you make us chuckle every day!

  • Lynn H

    Lynn H (Deleted) gave props (4 Dec 2008):

    Congrats, Susan......I am so proud of you!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (5 Dec 2008):

    Great essay and you've given me many smiles. Thank you!

  • Norman Caldwell

    Norman Caldwell (Deleted) gave props (5 Dec 2008):

    congrats on getting story of the week! and thanks for keeping us in stitches....

  • Anjelica Martinez

    Anjelica Martinez gave props (5 Dec 2008):

    This is brilliant! And I also love that you did it for all the right reasons :D

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (5 Dec 2008):

    Thank you one and all for your kind and generous comments about my essay and photos. Please remember....if it wasn't for each of you, these photos would not exist, for it is your encouragement and praise that keeps me shooting for just one more thought and picture.

  • Liz Malone

    Liz Malone (Deleted) gave props (6 Dec 2008):

    Very creative way to give a new perspective.

  • Jacqueline

    Jacqueline said (6 Dec 2008):

    You should make a book of these photos or a calender or something! How clever!

  • Lucy Lambriex

    Lucy Lambriex gave props (31 Dec 2008):

    Some essays are more equal. This is one of those. You are so good!

  • stouf

    stouf (Deleted) said (14 Jan 2009):

    Love it !

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (4 Jun 2009):

    Great photo essay, Susan! I must be missing you and the littlepeople that I almost read all your photo essay, lol!!!!Hurry come back!!!!

  • Jason Greaves

    Jason Greaves gave props (14 Aug 2009):

    well done kids certainly make me laugh

  • Zerina Phillip

    Zerina Phillip gave props (30 Sep 2009):

    My children love your photography. It's great creative art. Got my vote

  • Dawn Duffield

    Dawn Duffield (Deleted) gave props (15 Nov 2009):

    Thank you, Susan; for turning your tragedy into a wonderful light for the world to see; you are very special

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