This was my English homework. A story about going to an exotic location and learning something about one of the seven sins. Can you guess which one?

Plus, Henri Cartier-Bresson is a real French photographer. He has some great, great work. :) You should check it out.

P.S. I had to cut out a lot of my favourite parts to fit the word limit, which I couldn't do anyways, so it's not as good as it originally was.


Snapshot
March 4th, 2010
Joyce C.

The man knocks tentatively at the door, and when it's opened he offers the bright tulips to a bewildered woman. I quickly snap the picture from my bench across the street. They aren't young, but the image on my camera is that of a young boy and girl exuding shyness and joy. A simple black and white snapshot of a brief moment in someone's life.
Being a photographer, this is my life and my job. I can still remember when I was introduced to photography.

Now, I was young and without the experience and knowledge that I have now. Being blind and unknowing in the innocence of all children, I set off for Paris, France with my family. I was seven or eight, naïve and curious; ready for anything and everything, except maybe spiders. Little did I know that planes were cramped and dull places, that would wear away at my excitement like sandpaper. My brother Jake found some great importance in going to France, something about sports. When we got off the plane, my excitement was renewed.

My parents spoke French, my brother understood some, while I knew the least. Whenever they conversed in French, I found myself becoming distracted and wandering off. I nearly got lost many times, to the disapproval of my parents. Paris was a beautiful and old-fashioned city, I found amusement and detail in everything. I recall visiting the Eiffel Tower and Le Louvre, but as I was afraid of heights and uninterested in art, my trip began dully, not as I would have expected it to.

My father visited some friends in France, and we met with them often during the trip. We called them Aunt Marie and Uncle Alfred. They had two children, Alexandre and Elise. Jake got along well with Alexandre, but Elise didn't like me. They were a very well-off family, and had servants rushing about the house often, an alien concept to me. I remember two of the servants very well, in particular. One was Alice, she was middle-aged and worked as a maid. I remember how she used to sing as she worked around the house; she was always happy. Then there was Charles, he was fairly young and worked there as a servant part-time. He really wanted to work with animals, though; perhaps in a zoo. I talked to Charles a lot and he introduced me to photography; taught me the angle, space and shapes in a photograph.

He told me of a famous French photographer named Henri Cartier Bresson, and showed me the stunning black and white images. All this, occurred in a matter of days. And with the days gone by, it seemed that Elise disliked me more and more. I hardly ever saw her , she always went out to buy things and would come back with new items. She had a rude manner about her, and often spoke to others condescendingly. Perhaps she stayed away from me because I was friends with servants, while she wouldn't even look at them.

My parents had planned an excursion with them, and I was excited to get out of their hauntingly large house. This is my favourite memory, the trip we took out to the countryside, outside of Paris where we had a picnic. I can still see the sunny sky and the tall thick tree we sat beneath. I can still feel the Paris breeze and summer air catch itself in my hair. Jake and Alexandre ran off to play soccer in the field and the rest of us lounged about outside talking. Elise had brought Alice and Charles to take care of all the work.

I was reading a book as I leant against the tree, the sun poking through the branches shone dots of sunlight on the pages. It started to darken outside and our parents pulled out a bottle of wine to drink, to watch the sunset. The sky morphed into a pink and orange sorbet, melting together sweet colours against a dying sun. That's when Charles took out his camera and began taking carefully aimed pictures. One picture stays in my mind even today, though. It's of my father, in the cool of the evening. He's smoking a cigar pensively while Uncle Alfred speaks to him, the smoke rises up into the night air before his face. I left my book to join Charles and we used the camera late into the night.

When we were just about to leave, I found that my book was gone, and nowhere to be found. We had to leave without it, but I was promised a new one. The next day, Elise started asking me questions, incessantly.

"Why do you talk to servants? They work for us, they're not our friends. Besides, they're poor, you don't want to associate with them."

She was reprimanding me for my behaviour, and although I didn't agree with her I didn't say anything. Afterwards, she didn't bother me until Charles came back with the pictures printed from the picnic. I looked over them excitedly, and I couldn't take everything in with just one glance. I needed a full afternoon and evening, but then I noticed that Elise was reading my book. In a matter of minutes she threw the book on the table, stating that it was too simple for her, and left the room. Although I was deeply offended I couldn't do anything about it. It was just as how Alice couldn't do anything when Elise ignored her, holding her head up high and walking away.

I left Paris with a strange feeling. I was sad to leave, but excited to go back home and see my friends. Charles gave me some photos as a goodbye present, and I am beyond thankful to him. Alex and Jake were sad to be separated. Elise frequently complained at sharing her house with "simpletons" but she must have felt saddened by the lack of company. I knew she didn't have many friends at her private school because she didn't approve of anyone there. She often complained of this. I disliked her, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel pity for she couldn't accept others. I made a choice and I never judged anyone when I got back home, not even myself.