Jul 24, 2017 77

Sony Alpha is my therapist

A Sony Camera is my therapist

On January 12, 2016 I turned 90. It was not a real shock; I saw it coming. Still, it is a milestone. Your legs are so tired you feel like sitting right down to wait for the express to eternity. But among the gifts from my nephews and nieces (I am the lone survivor of my immediate family) was a Sony Alpha 5100 camera. It was in my bags when, in August of that year, I moved to Campion Center, the institution in Weston, Mass. for aged and ailing Jesuits. Once I got settled I took out the camera and have been clicking ever since. I received a subscription to Photoshop and bought a Canon Pixma printer. Instead of settling into a quiet life, reading and praying, I am taking pictures and praying.

Weston is an upscale town outside of Boston, Mass. The Jesuits moved in here back in the 1920s and erected an enormous building in Roman style as a seminary to train young Jesuits. I spent six years here way back in the last century. Coming back, I felt like Chesterton rediscovering Battersea.

My first venture was to get a panorama of this great arc of a building.

With Sony Alpha and Photoshop the panorama came out quite well. I showed it around and unknowingly established a new wrinkle in my identity. The crowning point came when the activities director, Meghan, asked me if I would take some pictures at our Christmas Party. She did not realize what she was getting into. I come to all events with my camera and avidly photograph everything stationary and mobile. Men women, plants and birds. I have nothing to do but I am really busy.

The activities director is a lovely lady. Pretty, statuesque, in fact. I fear being accused of harassment I’ve taken so many pictures of her at work helping members of the community who need a hand, or introducing speakers and activities. 

Here she is talking with George:

Then a good friend who turned 85 realized he didn’t have an up to date photo for his obituary. That produced several shots of Bill.

Then I snapped Virgini, my favorite nurse.

Activities asked for shots of recent residents. Here is one called Michael.

In addition, the lady in charge of HR, Chyril, has used my Sony Alpha to snap pictures at special occasions. She loves it. Another colleague, Grace, is giving the Alpha series serious consideration. I would not be surprised, some day soon, to find everyone walking around with a Sony Alpha dangling from their shoulder.

For me, it is an enjoyable means of recording events here at Campion Center. But I have to be careful, lest I start treating my brothers and the staff as raw material for photos.

To give the residents a rest, I go out on my scooter with camera to examine local nature. We are really in the country. Here’s a bit of back lit nature:

Not to say that I neglect the house itself when the lighting is just so.

All in all, I am busy, busy. Doing what? Snapping pictures with my Sony Alpha. And I have never been so happy.

My days are numbered but I hope they last until I get the perfect picture of the activities director.

John J Donohue, S.J.

Weston, Mass.