Weekly Photo Challenge: Service

This week was Veteran’s Day–that odd mid-week holiday to honor our service members from all branches of the military.  It seems to be a day of lots of free breakfasts, lunches, and coffee for veterans…a few parades and some visits to cemeteries for some people.  And I found myself thinking about the idea of service.

My dad is a Vietnam vet.  He served in the navy as a medical corpsman.  His high school diploma and military training allowed him to take care of all of the medical needs of a ship full of servicemen.  He was gone for months at a time when I was a young child and made the decision to leave the navy while I was still in elementary school.  It’s obvious that his years in the military made a lasting mark on his life…and I am proud to honor him for his service to our country.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this old snapshot that hangs in a photo collage on the wall.  Taken before I was born, this shows my parents as 19 year-olds, shortly before their wedding.  It was this #digiwrimo blog post by Michelle Pacansky-Brock that sent me in search of the photograph…there is so much about photos that evoke stories and memories and emotions.

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And then I started looking around and thinking about service…how do I express service in a photograph?  I know that I take my car’s service for granted–expecting it to take me where I need to go, to work when I turn the key.  I had a couple of days last week when the sensors in my car signaled that my car was not functioning as usual…and I was lucky, thanks to my husband, that a visit to the mechanic took care of the problems.  But even the little things like the rear-view mirrors are tools whose service I depend on.  I use them regularly, not always appreciating the service they provide.

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I spent my day off from work in LA with my son.  We spent time exploring LA’s new art museum (that will be another post) and then wandered into downtown Burbank to explore an industrial area.  I noticed this padlock, another of those ordinary tools that provide an important service.

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I was surprised to find the drainage canal with water in it.  We are already getting a hint of the potential of the expected El Nino conditions–and these canals will be of great service if we get the rain that is being predicted.

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And there’s that dreaded freeway, unpredictable, persistently overcrowded…except in the early afternoon on a holiday.  The 5 spans the state…a major north-south route.  It can make my travels to see my sons easy–or a nightmare!  Veteran’s Day was a good travel day on the 5.

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These old telephone poles are becoming a thing of the past.  And just below them are some large tanks emitting some kind of smoke or steam.  I’m not certain about the need for the service these items provide but they are an interesting find just outside a suburban neighborhood.

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So where do you see service?  Will you photograph people: the local grocer, your favorite barista, the fireman you hope you never need?  Or will you look to things: your car tire?  The stove burner? The stoplight that keeps traffic moving smoothly?

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #service for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

How will you depict service?  I’m looking forward to seeing service through your lens!

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