Street Photography Commentary

Horse on springs on fence yard art
And we thought donkeys as lawn ornaments were pushing it.

A good friend of mine said most of my commentaries for KOSU were pretty milquetoast. Then I took a writing webinar with Penelope Trunk and she offered to review some of our writing samples.  When she read my sample she said,  

“What is this? I don’t know what this is. Isn’t commentary suppose to be earth shattering?” This is the piece I sent her.

This is what I like so much about Penelope. She has the rare talent of being brutally honest without being cruel. All the while she’s so funny and she doesn’t even  know it. Her subplot, Melissa, knows this. And, I love a good subplot, by the way!

So, my radio commentaries are not so earth-shattering. And, sometimes my infrequent emails to Penelope are more interesting than my blog posts. Like the time she posted about being at ground zero on 9-11 and I wrote back and told her I passed a makeshift memorial to Julie on the fence outside the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial, and I noticed that her hair had completely gone out of style and it hit me like a truckload of bricks.

My conversations with Louisa are earth-shattering sometimes. She called me Sunday night and I answered the phone with a deadpan hhhhhhhellooooooooooooo. 

She laughed and asked me what was wrong. I told her:

I just threw a toy horse across the room because my kids’ rooms are a disaster and I’m sick of cleaning them. And, to make matters worse everyone is watching TV and nobody even knows I’m throwing stuff. This is how I know I’ve gone crazy. I’m throwing stuff and talking to myself and nobody can even see me. 

I know I’ve found a friend for life when I can say I hate my life and she starts laughing. If anyone ever says something like, I’m really sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time, they can totally forget about ever having lunch with me.

Then I told Louisa about one of my kids interrogating me.

Why did you take me to the park? I did not want to go to the park. Please tell me right now why you took me to the park…Why won’t you answer me!?

I finally told him we went to the park because I’m a stupid, horrible mother.

You’re not stupid. Why did you take me to the park? I didn’t want to go…

Today, my radio commentary on KOSU was about street photography. It won’t shake your chandeliers, but hopefully, you’ll find it informative. I’m not going to post the text because I’ve already said it all in a dozen or so posts over the last couple weeks. So, if you want to hear it you can read these instructions or just go to iTunes and type “KOSU podcasts.” You’ll find them all there. My commentaries air around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesdays on KOSU. That’s 107.5 in Tulsa or 91.7 in Oklahoma City. You can also listen live. One of my goals for 2013 is to write fewer milk-toast commentaries.

The other night when I tucked my son into bed, this is what he told me.

Mom, do you know why I didn’t like the park? The sun was so bright in my eyes and the goal was too high and I couldn’t make any baskets. And I didn’t get to swing on the tire swing because these other kids were hogging it. And, I’m sorry I was mean to you, Mom. I like to go to the park.

Sometimes, the truth is very hard to get at. 


Here are a few of my favorite street photography pictures from the last week or so. I like the woman in the lower left-hand corner of the picture below. She’s just walking by, staring straight ahead. And, the guy in the hoodie standing behind the station wagon. That’s a cool car. I didn’t see him or the woman in my viewfinder.

Wide Load
Glass Bottles Hung on Spikes and Nailed to a Tree Street Photography OKC
Glass bottles are hung on spikes nailed to a tree | Las Vegas Neighborhood, OKC

When I was in grade school I was so fascinated by a story in my reader about the Watts Towers in Los Angeles. It was more important to me to see this urban landmark than it was to go to Disneyland, but I’ve been to Disneyland at least 15 times and I’ve never seen the Watts Towers. I think it’s one of the most important public art projects of the 20th Century, and it just goes to show you how much someone can accomplish in their spare time.


Can we stay in touch? I don't know what brought you here today, but I'm glad you're here. I invite you to sign up for my NEWSLETTER. It will be delivered right to your inbox just once a month. (No annoying daily emails.) Life is beautiful and though the days be short, sometimes, our troubles are long. Let's share a small part of the journey with each other! --jen


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