The world was singularly more fascinating through a lens. He enjoyed the inertia of photos, their place in time and space. The brilliance of the sky forever blue. The grandeur of church steeples against the skyline. But his favorite subject were people: a bicyclist, a couple holding hands, an old man with worldly eyes. His subjects were usually unaware of his spying, his intrusion on daily living.
He became particularly fond of his father’s old camera. A time piece into the brilliant world of black and white. “You’ve got a photographer’s eye,” his father chirped, entrusting him with the antique camera. He felt its delicate weight in his palms. How many scenic adventures and routes did the lens capture, witness? He laid the worn, leather strap against his neck and the camera swayed against his heart.
He observed the world in motion, the brilliant sky and clouds swimming in heavenly pools. But a black and white sky didn’t resonate with him so he turned his gaze on city people. They were blank, heavy, and stone faced, carved out of responsibility and engagement.
He was roused by a defiant laugh. A young girl tottered on the edge of a sidewalk like a trapeze artist. She wore a peppery dress and sported bare feet. Her little toes swept against stone like a brush upon canvas. She charmed him in the bliss of childlike simplicity. He raised his camera and clicked. Conscious of his lens, her eyes narrowed and she puckered her lips in dissatisfaction.
“Didn’t your mother teach you not to spy,” she scolded. She folded her arms and raised her chin.
“Don’t be angry little girl,” the young man smiled. “I’m a photographer and you are the perfect model.”
“Really,” she blushed. Pink rushed to her face in one, brilliant burst.
“Yes, it will be a prize photo worth a million dollars.” She jumped at the world million. The young man took the girl’s name and address. In a bright, pink envelope he wrote: To my barefoot model.