Quoth the Ravin’ – Evermore.
Every now and then, we stumble upon something on social media which makes us pause and chuckle. Such was the case with this gem. It’s a poem which, I later learned, was quietly penned by mild mannered photographer Paul Wood between photo sessions during one of the most hectic times of the year for his profession—Dance Week.
It’s the season in which little rays of sunshine, clad in tutus and satin and sequins, tap and twirl their ways into the studios for their annual pre-recital portraits.
Sometimes, the photo sessions are relatively effortless, as the little starlets strike the poses they have refined through years of experience. Other times, the diminutive darlings just aren’t feeling it. Whether camera shy or operating in full diva overload, pausing for last minute adjustments to crowns and curls or confused by directions shouted from the mommy peanut gallery, capturing the tiny (or not-so-tiny) dancers in all their glory can be quite the challenge.
The ultimate goal is to leave both the subjects and their parents, thrilled with the results without going stark ravin’ mad in the process.
Thus the inspiration for Paul’s homage via an Edgar Allen Poe classic:
Once upon a daytime dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over poses, props, costumes and more,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some gang fiercely rapping, rapping at the studio door.
“‘Tis the thunder,” I muttered, “pounding on my studio door,
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was the Dance Week;
And the piercing of each child’s shriek made me wish for travel booked offshore.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; hours left I thought with sorrow,
to listen to the children and the roar.
Back into the dance school turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
I released my finger from the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In charged the children from the door.
Commenced the screaming and the laughing, a score of children fiercely tapping,
tapping on the wooden dance room floor.
Thoughts of cruising stilled my sorrow, endless drinks to be had tomorrow,
dozens of shops and restaurants to explore.
As I had the children posing, I raised my camera and began composing,
creating precious memories to adore.
The parents smiled and praised their dancers, I realized that I had my answers,
Of why I loved my job despite the roar.
The photos I create today, of tap, of jazz, of modern ballet,
Are treasures to be savored forevermore.
I have no doubt that Paul’s ode will resonate deeply with other photographers who face the same challenges.
Paul and his wife Julie operate Paul Wood Photography in Slidell, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. In addition to doing their best to survive Dance Week, they capture other equally important milestones and memories, including maternity and newborn shots, sports individuals and teams, senior portraits, weddings, military deployment memories, Mardi Gras balls and more. They also offer their services at numerous community events, including community theatre captures and, currently, a nod to Rosie the Riveter, celebrating Womens Build Week for East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity. See more of their work at PaulWoodPhotography.net.
Featured above: tiny dancer Giuliana.