Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Gift and a Dedication Ceremony


My brother is studying photography in college, and one of his projects was to take a picture with an old-timer camera & film (I'll update with the exact type).  It's the kind where the shooter has to go behind a blanket and snap the shot.  You don't get to view it until you're in the dark room and you only get a few chances.

He took 5 shots all together that day--2 with Cowboy and me (didn't turn out because Cowboy moved), 1 here in my Cowgirl Cave, and 2 in the barn (didn't turn out because of the angle.)  So, 1 out of 5 turned out, and we were thrilled to get even one....because I'm a blinker.

A blinker is someone who blinks so often, they figure only 1 out of 4 shots will catch them with their eyes open.  I was diagnosed as a "blinker" by a photographer about 15 years ago.  Poor Danny, my brother, he was shooting with an old time camera and his subject was a blinker--the chances of getting a decent shot for school was like 1 in 1,000,000.  But he did.  Which makes him a ROCK STAR!  This scan of the photo doesn't quite capture what he did.  I've asked him for a digital copy of his work, but  he's too busy out taking more photographs.  The scan darkened up the background elements and the detail was lost.  He had done a really nice job in the dark room dodging the background for the subtle colors in the blankets and the leather texture.

Yesterday, I had rode Cowboy down to a dedication for Spokane Chief Garry and, afterward, I tried to take a nap, but I was awakened by my brother stopping by to give me this photo as a gift.  He had matted and framed it for his end of the year showcase.

It couldn't have been a better gift, and I will always cherish it--me in my Cowgirl Cave as I look off at Cowboy and Leah tied together at their post with Cowboy's bridle slung over my favorite chair. The assignment was to photograph someone doing something they love without them actually posing, but to be honest, I was semi-posing. You have to be perfectly still with those cameras or it all blurs. I tried to just think about Cowboy and Leah, instead of the camera perched awkwardly on the ground in front of the cave.  If it had been anything other than my horses, I probably couldn't have done it.  But looking at your heart-horses--well, that makes it easy, doesn't it?

The Chief Garry Sign Dedication in Palisades Park was a spiritual moment.  A couple of friends and I rode our horses into it, and I sat on Cowboy through the whole thing and got to experience his reactions.  A few members of the Spokane Tribe, some of whom are Garry's descendants, beat a drum together and sang songs that were probably written in that very canyon.  They'd start out quiet, with a soft pounding, and slowly crescendo--at which point Cowboy's head would dart up--then their voices would recede away.  It was so beautiful.  Cowboy liked it.  Personally, I think horses like music--but that's another post.

There were 7 generations of Chief Garry descendants represented there, and they all pulled the cover off the sign together.



Riding back to the trailer--shooting over my shoulder--this is why the Spokane Tribe would have chosen this canyon--the grass (for their horses), water, and timber.


A little something Penny picked up from the ride.


Here's a very short video of them singing and beating their drum during the ceremony.  They were bringing their people's songs back to their ancestral grounds.  I ride there often, but I'll never think of it the same again.


12 comments:

  1. What a wonderful photograph. I'm also impressed that his instructor gives him access to one of those old time cameras. I love listening to Native American music. I grew up visiting Indian trading posts every summer, bought a lot of turquoise, and worked a little bit with one tribe local to me. I had a friend from the Washoe tribe who used to tell me about their ceremonies. I was interested in shape shifting.

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  2. Love the photo. That kind of photography is almost a lost art in this digital age.
    It's pretty special that you got to be part of the dedication ceremony.

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  3. Beautiful photo ~ How Very Special!

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  4. Your brother did a fantastic job!! What a treasure! Any photographer who hasn't experienced the thrill of seeing their photograph develop before their eyes, is missing out. Film teaches you to carefully look at composition & light, there is no delete button. My first two classes in college back in the stone age were elective photo classes (long story) I even had my own light room in our basement! Does your favorite chair rock? Looks similar to the classic kind I am looking for (two) our barn, sturdy & comfy. What a special ceremony to attend, and with Cowboy!! I can only imagine the ears of interest. I look forward to reading your upcoming post about horses & music. I am pretty sure music was key during the year(ish) of hand walking Koda while he was healing. There is never music at the barn we board at, but you can bet we will have it in all our barn ~ including the future arena.

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  5. Very true. He said that when it came out, the light was almost all on me since I was closest to the source. He had to dodge it in areas that he wanted to highlight. He showed me the same picture he took right before with his digital when he was setting it up and it looked awful. It was way, way too busy. I would love to experience developing my own photos but I'll have to live vicariously. I think it would make you so much more observant since you would know how many things could go wrong and how much work you were going to put into it.

    NuzMuz I wish I knew more about the particular songs they were singing. I'm also fascinated by their songs, drums, dances. Full of meaning and tradition.

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  6. That is a totally cool photo. The expression on your face -- you can tell how much you love your horses.

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    1. Thanks, Annette. He told me not to smile--so I did feel a bit awkward. But that expression is probably pretty true--a mix of oh, my sweet horse, what are they doing, are they okay?

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  7. The photo is definitely a work of art and should have been framed. What a wonderful gift.

    The dedication ceremony sounds uplifting and spiritual. I have great respect for the Native Americans and their customs.

    I always have music going in the barn. The horses seem to like it as much as I do. There have been times I will even sing while riding to calm a horse down or myself for that matter.

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    1. I've done the same. If nothing else, it helps us to breathe--and what is singing--like the birds, for instance, is probably not dying. Singing, in the wild, means things are okay.

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  8. What a great photo - already I can guess it will be a treasured heirloom, both for the subject matter & the story.

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    1. Yes, I will treasure it. It'll probably be one of those that survives the test of time and gets handed down.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.