Thursday, November 3, 2011

Camera obscura

Woo! Hallowe'e'e'n. Argh! Urgh! Grr! Fnarples!

Maybe not fnarples, thinking about it. That's for a different celebration.

But still, Halloween, properly de-apostrophised and bulging with the promise of hollowed out vegetables and obtaining sweeties through extortion!

I now have children, which sort of curtails most things celebratory that I used to enjoy, such as meeting other adults and having a conversation about something other than Teletubbies and poo, unless we wanted to. This means that if I see an opportunity for some gregarious celebration, no matter how infantile and pointless, I will grab on to that sucker like a politician on to an expense account.

My little boy was particularly excited as he had been invited to a Halloween fancy dress party in the evening. To stop him from asking "Is it time for the party yet?" more than eighteen hundred times, we spent the rest of the day torturing pumpkins by scooping their innards out and making them into soup and pies before callously eating them in an orgy of lunch.

At one point in the afternoon, my son clocked the digital camera on the sideboard and immediately had a great idea. "I want to take some photos Daddy!"

I was unsure. The last time he'd used it I had to spend ages with a tiny alcohol wipe cleaning raspberry jelly off the lens so people didn't look like they were being eaten by the Blob in every shot.

"Puh-lease can I take some photos Daddy!" He held his hands together in front of his chest out as though praying, knowing very well that I can't resist that sort of supplication. Besides, I thought, it's a distraction, and raising children is all about distracting them. And feeding them occasionally.

I set the camera up and handed it over.

"Find something interesting to photograph." I advised, removing a sticky finger from the delicate lens mechanism.


Sofa so good

That's the sofa, close up. Fascinating stuff. Look at the weave. And the discolouration. It shows the beautiful cycle of stains and stain remover, forever chasing one another down the years.

"Not the sofa. Something interesting." I remind The Boy.



A bit of living room, with the wife's crocs just scuttling to get out of shot. Hardly the stuff of award winning exhibitions.

"How about the pumpkins I just spent ages hollowing out and carving?" I suggested.



A moist cavity

"Maybe not quite so close up son."


Got eight teeth, gonna use 'em

"Bonobo, please stop eating the pumpkin."

The doorbell rang. Great stuff, I thought, and suggested a photo of the visitors might be interesting.



Yep, visitors, nearly as interesting as the door.

Or the wall.

Or the floor.

The Boy bounces around the house, so excited to be taking pictures he is actually vibrating which makes him both hard to see at the edges and quite difficult to catch. I eventually trap him with a cunningly set up photographic opportunity of his old man. Predictably,  he can't resist.


Looking good. I point him in the direction of the pumpkins which have been put on display ready for any passing art critic, and we finally have a picture taken from the viewpoint of a four year-old.


Guard the iPod, gourdy minions.

I borrowed the camera for a moment and looked at the pictures on the little display. The ones shown here are the pick of about fifty, mostly of walls and floors, with the occasional door thrown in for good measure. I heartlessly deleted them and then handed the camera back, whereupon The Boy ran off to continue his reportage.

This included:

Light fittings:


A box of red:

Desperation is evident in the dented packaging.

A bit more floor:
Skirting the issue

A sucked dry smoothie carton:


And his sister begging for a go, or possibly a chew, on the camera:

Before she finally feigned disinterest:

Eventually, the novelty wore off, and I managed to retrieve a surprisingly clean camera for some judicious memory wiping. A couple of them were actually rather good, and I think we can consider getting him his own camera for his fifth birthday in March. They do relatively cheap, tough ones that are ketchup proof nowadays and just right for little people to take photos anywhere they want.

I think I'll have to put a lock on the bathroom door.

We got The Boy ready for the party and, before we drove him to his friend's house, he was quite willing to step in front of the lens for a change.


That's a wrap.




  1. You have Halloween over there? The big supermarkets are pushing it like a politicians pay rise here but we Aussies are resisting. (fruitlessly) We have enough stupid holidays already and I for one think we should introduce it ONLY if we cancel some other stupid holiday.. like Christmas! (Bah, humbug!)
    I dont let the kids use my camera...I'm afraid they'll take better pics than me, but I got your hint about deleting the best ones before anyone else see's them.

  2. Well clearly he just inherited a big bunch of your surrealism, so really you should be proud. One day he'll sell "Blurred Door: A Study" to some gallery for a fortune and then where will you be? :)

  3. Keep all the picks and save them. They depict the world of a 4 year old... you just have difficulty seeing it since, hopefully, you are no longer 4 years old. Keep those pictures, maybe print them out and put them in an album by themselves. Then, when he is 19 years old and trying to impress the (current) love of his life, you can drag it out and show her what great talent he had as a photographer even then...

  4. Bonobo? :-)

    Thank you for removing the apostrophe from "Halloween". It does not deserve the dignity so often found in punctuation.


  5. Yes, fun for kids. Not so much me when I discover the majority of the pics they take are of my ass. I have the collection. My ass when I'm cooking in the kitchen. My ass when I'm bending to retrieve things they've dropped. Thankfully they have yet to snap my ass when emerging from the shower. Can't wait for them to get taller.

  6. Oh my god, I thought I was looking at my own kids' photo album. Except our pumpkins are not nearly as cool. Awesome narration. And a great idea to just get them their own stinkin' cameras.

  7. Tempo - I think you're missing the underlying spiritual meaning of Halloween. It's a deep, moving, contemplative opportunity to bond with supermarkets and buy sugar and plastic tat.

    Veggie Ass - I'll be saying "I've always had faith in his photographic ability. Never doubted him for a second. Yes Madam, 'Half-Open Dressing Gown' is £899.99."

    Douglas - That's premediatated evil meanness. I shall of course do exactly that!

    Pearl - You're welcome. Punctuation is a privilege, not a right and shouldn't be abused.,!!!

    Nicole - It'll be a nice essay in growing up, as the pictures graduate from knees to bum, through to boobs and chin via muffin top, and finally to the top of the head! Beautiful!

  8. Wow, twa - Missed ya there! It really is all about distraction, isn't it? I'm just thinking about five minutes of them entertaining themselves!

  9. I once let my little nephew play with my camera -- it bought me almost 19 minutes of peace and quiet. It was worth every picture :-)

  10. LOL this must be boring parent post week, sugar!!! ;) i LOVE it!!!! xooxoxo

    (you're still the wedding hero, you know!)

  11. Dr Cynicism - Exactly! It's also why I let them use the computer. It's totally worth the sticky keys afterwards.

    Savvy - Boring? Boring? Oh yeah, point taken. And it's very nice to know I'm thought of fondly over there btw. x

  12. Among all the sites I have visited, it just catch my sight the diary you are posting. Love it.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Tenga Eggs

  13. theliberator12 - The diary I am posting is designed for sight-catching, so I am loving that you love it.

  14. I could have sworn that some of those photos were from my own excursions into art. And I'm quite a bit older than 4. At least six I am.

  15. Dr Zibbs - Very hairy baby. Very hairy.

    tennysoneehemingway - At least! Do you cut the heads off people as well? In photos I mean.

  16. I like the expression on teh zombie's face!

  17. Dr Z - He'd been practising. The resurrection was the trickiest part.


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