The Girl in the Photo

I have a black-and-white photo hanging on a wall in my bedroom.  The young girl whose image is frozen in time is probably three or four years old. One might think that this child is my daughter, but the truth is, I don’t even know her name. The photo was taken in the summer of 1977 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  My friend, Peggy, and I were on campus participating in a week-long journalism workshop, where we focused on studying photography. Our days were filled with classroom instruction and lots of hands-on experience snapping photos. We then developed the fruits of our labor in a darkroom.

I shot the picture of the young maiden one evening as we passed by her home. She agreed to strike a pose for me, and in an instant, I captured the image that is framed on my wall. She is seated on the edge of her sandbox, clutching a cup or bowl of some kind, most likely a digging and scooping device. She has blond, Shirley Temple curly hair, and a lollipop is firmly implanted between her lips. She is wearing a white, girlie t-shirt and dark shorts, and her feet are housed in a pair of Stride Rites, with one shoelace conveniently untied. She sat perfectly still, looking directly into the lens of my Nikon.

One recent morning, as I lazed in bed soaking up the quiet, my eyes wandered to the photo. I began wondering what had become of my young portrait model. (She would be in her mid-thirties by now.) Did she have a happy childhood? Had she been a rebellious teenager? (In the photo, her eyes have a mischievous stare.) Did her young days spent growing up near a college campus inspire her to pursue a higher education, or did she choose some other career path? Is she someones wife or mother? I’ll never know. Wherever and whoever she is, I hope she is well.

1 thought on “The Girl in the Photo

  1. I love this. I have a girl I think of from time to time, when I run across her drawing. About 12 years ago, a young girl sat next to me on an airplane. She was with her moher. I was reading most of the flight, and when it was almost time to land, she gave me a picture she drew — of me. It was a wonderful drawing. She was very talented for a girl of 10 or 11. I’ve always wondered if she became an artist. Her name was Alexandria.

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