I don't ever feel like it's my responsibility to direct or tell people what to do. In fact, it really goes against the ethics of what photojournalists do in their every day work, except for portrait situations.
I feel like that tenet holds true even more for this column. This is your story, your space, and what's on your mind. So when Pat and Jim told me they wanted more time to write their thoughts and would write them on lined paper, I agreed. Although twice, I'd had two unusable columns because I made the photos but the people were never able to get back to me. I didn't think that would be the case with the Moore's.
Having the handwriting is very important to me - and I've been a bit stubborn about it. Text is read. Handwriting is deciphered. Reading cold, hard, perfect, uniform text lacks personality and is quick to read. With handwriting, you first have to understand the writing, study it, maybe look it over a few times. You see where a person may have rushed a thought, paused, or
scratched out a thought. You get a much more personalized, intimate look at their personality as well. It makes me wonder what ever happened to handwritten letters, and makes me miss receiving postcards. Post Secret is one of my favorite Sunday pastimes.
It really was a joy to come back a week later to read their thoughts, so well articulated. I loved that Pat wrote a title at the top of her sheet and called it "Pat Moore's Essay."
I met Pat and Jim at The Burren for an event organized by comedian Jimmy Tingle, for the closing of his theater. I remember what stood out about them were their hats. It was a snowy day, and Jim had what looked like a traditional Austrian hat on, and if my memory serves me right, Pat had on kind of a wintery furry hat (I could be wrong). Two months later, we met again for the photo.
Whenever I got together with these two, the conversation just flowed. Anything ranging from Jim's former job as a co-owner of a typographic company in South Boston, to their many travels all around the world, to how the two had met, and how the garage door opener had changed the way neighbors interact with each other.
Pat was a little concerned that her thoughts might come off as too negative, but she also felt the responsibility to bring up issues that she felt were important. She also said putting down her age was "traumatic," and I sincerely appreciate her and Jim being so open with me.
When we started making pictures I wrote down a cute exchange between the two:
Pat (to me): Don't get my bad side
Jim: You don't have a bad side
Pat: Oh aren't you sweet