>Under Their Thumb

>It’s been an odd week for me.

Yesterday, I began my day by traveling an hour from home into parts unknown in Jesusland. My mission was to take baby pictures. I know, it’s very exciting.

The first stop involved two siblings. One of course, being a newborn. The other, a talkative three year old. We hit it off pretty well. I let the kids talk their gibberish, that I hardly ever can comprehend and then respond with:

“Oh yeah?”

or “Really?”

or “That’s pretty cool.”

As long as you acknowledge them, they appreciate it. For the most part. One, early on in my baby photography career, even began hugging my leg and calling me “Daddy”, which mom went along with, but I digress.

It was a different story though with this young boy. We started off with small talk. He asked about my light stands and backdrop. He pointed out a monstrous mosquito on the wall, which I helped him annihilate. Then, out of nowhere, the demon came forth.

“Fuck you boh.” (Boh being my attempt to convey the accent he purposely put on “boy” like he was imitating something he had heard before.)

“Oh yeah?”, I replied, trying to play it off.

He then got in my face, or as close as a boy of his stature could, and poked at me repeatedly saying “Boh” over and over. It sounded a bit like Yosemite Sam.

“I’ll break your ass boh.”

“Really? I think it already is.”

“Fuck you boh.”

It was a battle I couldn’t win. Mom was tending to the little one and wouldn’t do more than give verbal reprimands. I was beginning to think that she had experienced this before anyway, but from a different source. He even retorted to her calls to cease the behavior.

“Fuck you bitch.” He even repeated several more times with feeling that she was a female dog.

Reinforcements were called in, in the form of Grandma. His cursing stopped, but his attitude only increased. He proceeded to taunt me as I photographed his baby brother and when he was told to leave the room, he went to his room and trashed it a la Mark Wahlberg at a hotel during his days with The Funky Bunch.

Shame, shame.

Today, when I arrived home after another day on the road, I received a call, which I ignored. I then realized it was from a client from earlier in the day. She was a younger mother who lived with her parents. As we took the photos of the baby, I asked her to lean into a few for “Mommy and Me” photos, which is standard procedure. Even if they are hesitant, we usually pull it off, and everyone stays happy. Well, she was reluctant, but I convinced her to take a few.

Anyway, when I called this number back, I got her man, who wasn’t present at the shoot. I’m assuming he was calling numbers on her phone to keep tabs, since he said he called because I was a missed call on her phone. He asked me why I made his girl get in the pictures. I told him it was standard, but he told me that he specifically asked her not to get in the photos since they were to get family pictures later. I told him he was under no obligation to pay for those pictures, but we take a wide variety to give folks a choice.

“But I told her not to and she said you made her.”

Another losing battle.

Was he saying I did it for kicks? While her parents and elders were there? Is the whole world going insane?

Why can’t everyone have a good time with me, like the guy that got out of the pen two weeks prior to seeing a shoot with his infant son?

I once heard a piece on NPR about how chimney sweeps in Russia are government issued. You can’t use independent sweeps. The people there then fear that the men are spies for the government to see how they are at home and if they are using the system in any illegal way. I wish I could think of myself that way. People don’t fear me though. They let it all hang out, but that’s a different story.