The Notebook

Chair and Notebook from the Dog Track

I could have gone with another movie here guys, but I didn’t think anything else worked as well as The Notebook. Sure…Shattered Glass starring Hayden Christiansen is probably more manly…but truthfully? I think Christiansen is actually a bit more girly than a girly movie.

I’ve been married for almost 13 years. My wife is from a family of criers. Before we ever got hitched, I remember sitting in a theater watching one of the biggest sob fests of all-time, My Life (Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman) with my wife, her parents, her sister and her sister’s husband. I looked down the aisle during the movie and they all had tears down their faces. I was like…really?

Flash forward to now and I’m officially part of the family because I get choked up at everything. Having a daughter has even made it worse. Too many father/daughter moments in TV/movies just totally ruin me now.

The Notebook was a great film and an amazing story…one that hits close to home with  my now deceased grandfather who suffered from Alzheimer’s. I wasn’t super close to him, but I remember always reminding him of my name when I saw him those final years. And I’m sure my grandma went through more than anyone knows.

With no real way to segue from that, the movie title is also a main subject of the photo above, one of my favorites from the dog track. This photo was kind of like The Notebook for me…it almost made me cry. Ha! Okay, not really, but when I took it, I showed it to buddies Rick and Scott and told them “This is probably the best photo I’ll take the entire time we’re here.” And I meant it. And I still feel that way.

As photographers, we can take a picture, look at it and feel like we totally nailed it. Best.Photo.I.Have.Ever.Taken. But I’ve had a number of occasions where a photo of mine that I felt was my best work just didn’t get received the way I thought it would. We have all probably dealt with that because it’s hard to be  completely objective when it comes to our own stuff.

I love this scene from top to bottom. The chair amidst shattered glass with a notebook sitting on it. An open doorway letting in an intense amount of light from the setting sun. Rich shadows. This was one of the first shots I processed from the dog track but it took me this long to post it to the blog. I was almost fearful of putting it out there and getting hit with the stark reality that it’s just not as good as I think it is.

But that’s photography really isn’t it? I mean, not all of it…but we want our photos to be seen by people and when you do that, you are welcoming in all comments and critiques…good, bad, indifferent. And that’s just part of being what we are. And the truth is…the more I shoot, the less I care about what people think because this is WHO I am…this is my style…and I’m confident in it and proud of it.

Now excuse me, I’m sure my buddy Bob Lussier is going to ask me for my man card at any moment, but the joke’s on him…I gave that thing away a looooong time ago.

12 replies
  1. Pat OBrien
    Pat OBrien says:

    Touching story Mike! I’m not much of a crier myself, unless there’s a sad story about a dog. I’m sure that will change when we have kids too. Also a great photo!

  2. Jim Denham
    Jim Denham says:

    I’m with ya Mike. I haven’t had my man card in over 15 years! GREAT, GREAT image. Love the blown out light coming thru from the windows and the black and white treatment! Perfect!

  3. Heath O'Fee
    Heath O'Fee says:

    I’m just as big a sap as you are, my friend…and I don’t even have kids yet! I really dig the hard light and strong shadows, really lets the chair shine as the focal point.

  4. Steve Beal
    Steve Beal says:

    I agree with Jim – really powerful image Mike. Love the shot. I also agree with you in that my work is often not received as I would expect. If I think a shot stinks it’s a sure sign that people are going to like it. I have about 15-20 shots that I have post-dated because I don’t love them but they will get inevitably more hits than the shots I like. 🙂

  5. Bob Lussier
    Bob Lussier says:

    Great image. I love the mood, the scene, the comp, the BW treatment.
    It brought me to tears. Thanks for the Man Card reference. It snapped me back to reality.

    You have a daughter. You can keep your Man Card.

    Seriously, I’m not immune. Toy Story III killed me.

  6. Dave
    Dave says:

    Blown out highlights and dark shadows is what makes this image so compelling, and neither of these things distract form the main focal point, the chair and notebook. Even if viewing this pic without having seen the text I find the book to be most fascinating, wondering what the pages contain and wondering what happened to its owner.
    I must admit I tend to get choked up more easily these days too, my wife doesn’t though.
    Not at all familiar with the film mentioned today, I’ll have to look out for it.
    Btw, did you get married in 98? If so then we’re roughly the same age and been married for about the same time.
    Great post Mike. 🙂

  7. Chris Kenison
    Chris Kenison says:

    Great shot and awesome read. I feel you, man. And, Bob, Toy Story III killed me too. I think the older I get, the more emotional I get. Oh well, there’s always the, “I got something in my eye” trick!

  8. Mike
    Mike says:

    Toy Story III is the worst…all I have to do is hear the music at the end when he’s driving away…and then the line from Woody…”So long…partner.”

    Ugh, tearing up right now at work 😉

    Thanks to you all for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the photo and also that there are some men out there who can admit that they cry. It’s good for the soul 🙂

  9. jina
    jina says:

    I don’t know which I enjoy more – the picture or what you wrote about it. So what if you are a big sap; I will always share my kleenex box with you.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Wyden Kivowitz, Mike Olbinski, TJ Offner, Pat O'Brien, Jesse Pafundi and others. Jesse Pafundi said: RT @mikeolbinski: Up for a cry today? It's MovieTitleWednesday and 'The Notebook' – #fb #photog <-Well done […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.