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Matinee: 'My Favorite Picture' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

28 April 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 147th in our series of Saturday matinees today: My Favorite Picture.

This two-and-half minute video is a short promo for Milford Photo, a photography store established in 1995 by Jim Wilson in Milford, Conn.

Photography stores have been dying out for a while now.

In our neck of the woods we've mourned the loss of Brooks, Calumet, Denevi, Discount Cameras, Gassers, Keeble and Shuchat, Palmsers and Sarber's.

But we're always heartened when Kirk Tuck writes about Precision Camera in Austin or we read about some other local camera store with a solid following.

The attraction isn't low prices or the latest gear or hard-to-find inkjet cartridges or intriguing accessories. It's the people.

Each of these places, over the years, hosted a community that loved photography. You could walk up to the counter and just start talking cameras or printers or enlargers or anything photo related at all. And before you knew it, someone down the counter would chime in and another salesperson would enter the conversation and you might, after a few minutes, learn something.

That now happens on the Web, of course. More conveniently, faster, efficiently.

You'll recognize yourself in those stories. What you love about your own photos. Why you do this sort of thing.

But the people that worked at those stores, like the people featured in this video, loved photography.

There are more than half a dozen Milford employees (we quit counting) featured in this clip, all of whom try to answer the question, "What's your favorite picture you've ever taken?"

And, at first, all of them demur. "My favorite? It's hard to pick just one."

But by the end of the clip, they've all chosen one to show us, telling the story behind it.

You'll recognize yourself in those stories. What you love about your own photos. Why you do this sort of thing.

But there's something more.

Compared to other countries, the United States doesn't much value the arts and, consequently, its artists.

We don't know what art is for, we don't learn to appreciate it in school, we resent being taxed to support it. And our artists struggle not just to make ends meet but to get out of bed in the morning.

Sure, we know our actors and musicians. They're celebrities. But next time you're having dinner with friends, see who can name a novelist, poet, painter, sculpture or photographer who is still living.

Our cultural ignorance of the arts affects not only an artist's appreciation of their own work but, sadly, of themselves.

Yet photography has become the most accessible of the arts. We are, these days, all equipped with some sort of camera and even an audience. We start by photographing what attracts us and, finding that rewarding, gradually improve our approach, learning from our mistakes and, may we humbling suggest, resources like Photo Corners.

The very least we achieve by our efforts is some appreciate of the arts.

In this clip, you're not just watching some employees talk up the business. You're watching some humble artists present their work. No, they aren't represented by a gallery. They haven't published photo books. They don't supplement their income with workshops. And no curator is seeking them out.

They just take pictures. Awfully good ones, it turns out.

So we salute those good people past and present behind the counter who practice the art the love without imagining they are themselves artists, helping us overcome the hurdles they have overcome, spreading the joy of this art generously.


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