…of me to keep you on “The Edge” of your seats. I know, especially when it’s taking me so long to get posts written these days. But I just have to share the awesomeness that is the Clackamas County Fair before it gets any further away from me. Although we technically have a few weeks of summer left, it’s pretty much done. I need one last gasp celebration of all that is the rural county fair before the summer is really and truly over.
If you’d like to see a lovely depiction of the fair, full of artfully-shot photos and adorable little-kid goodness, I encourage you to visit Alicia Paulsen’s post about her day at the fair. She is the writer of Posie Gets Cozy, a blog that makes me want to sit and sew and knit and cook good food and snuggle up in sweet, old-fashioned quilts.
But then come right back so you can see the view from our sometimes twisted lens.
There was, of course, the standard fair fare–rides, games, high-fat food.
There were also the things that make me wonder about some people. And sigh a lot.
I didn’t get many photos of the standard fare because that’s not what really draws me to the fair. What gets me are the things that make my heart feel so tender about us humans and what we do with our brief time on this planet.
The llama judging may have been my favorite part of the day, watching kids decked out in their best jeans and their boots, so serious and earnest as they brought their animals forward to be inspected.
It brought back such vivid memories of Fern at the fair in Charlotte’s Web that I went home and read some of those passages aloud to Cane. (We roared at how her parents sent her and her brother off with 50 cents to last the whole day. Some things have certainly changed!)
There is so much creative energy and work on display at the fair, and something about seeing so much of it gathered in one place touches me like few other things do.
I love thinking about the origins of county fairs, how they were ways to celebrate the skills so essential to rural life.
What gets me even more than displays of useful, utilitarian skills are the ones that show how deep our need to create is, in ways that go beyond the purely practical.
And, finally, I also loved the displays of collections. It seems Marie Kondo has all kinds of us thinking about whether or not objects “spark joy” in us, but the creators of these displays have clearly been tuned into their sources of joy for some time:
When I began my month-long August photo project (which I pretty much abandoned mid-way), I wondered about photography and how it impacts my relationship with experience. What I realized carrying my camera around the fair is this: I like photography when I’m focused on exploring a topic or idea–but not so much when I’m trying to make good photos.
As I’m sure you can tell, I didn’t do much more than point and shoot while at the fair. I didn’t want to fuss much with framing my shots, and I wanted even less to fuss with camera settings. What I wanted to do was capture images to help me remember what I was loving about the fair, and I liked how capturing images was getting me to think about what I love and why I love it. It was OK because I was experiencing it with someone else who was taking photos for the same reasons; the photo-taking was integral to our experience, not something to capture it.
I guess this means I won’t ever be a great photographer, and photography isn’t really one of my creative outlets. But that’s OK. Sometimes I’ll still get lucky and take some great photos.
I promise to finish the Edge story asap. We did go back to work this week, so it might be a few days before I get to it. 🙂