The Shoot of My Dreams


I never could have dreamed this day would come. The only thing that would top an indian (of the American variety) walking into my day in full regalia would be moving out to the reservation and going native myself. I had seen the “Native American Dance” performance slated on the schedule for our school, but for all I know, some dude in blue jeans and a dollar store head dress was going to strut in with his cultural spiel. Just because I would beat myself if it did turn out well and I was not ready, I had to scout a potential portrait location.

An elementary school cafetorium is not exactly the most inspiring backdrop for an American Indian portrait shoot, so I took a little walk behind the school as soon as I arrived that morning. Just two weeks before, I had been day dreaming in that very grassy field, which was much more tall and Great-Plains-wavy then, what it would have been like hundreds of years ago, pre white dudes. The gentle, brown sea sparked the beginning of a (most likley ill-fated) novel idea. Long story short: there is no better, close place for the potential shoot.

Then, into my cafetorium walks Tallbear. I swooned. I recovered, helped hook up the sound system, took a few shots with some tastefully 80s colored backgrounds, pondered the possibility of wrangling them into an impromptu portrait shoot, then swooned again.

After the Kindergartners were finished asking their “questions” and our indian visitors were packing things up, I asked if they had a few minutes for a quick portrait out behind the school. They were more than happy to oblige. My knees wobbled, but I refrained from swooning this time.

The field has a nice rounded hill top feel to it, just enough to play with my angle and remove all modern obstructions from the background. The only thing I would have liked would be that some big wig did not feel the need to keep this field mowed. The uncut prairie grasses are so wonderful this time of year.

I took a few shots, and my camera stopped. My card was full. I cannot remember the last time that happened, but of course, it would happen now. I quickly deleted a few family shots and some less important shots, which, understanding how much importance I put on this moment with my decked out indians, was an easy set of priorities to figure. I knew I did not need many shots. I am not a machine gun shooter anyway. With ten to fifteen more shots, I could catch all I needed. And indeed, I caught two images which just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I view them.

Thank you Tallbear.

What is a dream shoot of yours? Anybody else have a weakness for Native American culture like me? Anybody else have an allergic reaction to the use of the word ‘cafetorium’?

Cooper Strange Written by:


  1. 2010-12-07

    Wow! What a great shot! I’d love to see the others.

  2. 2010-12-09

    I have one other one I like, but this one said what I wanted it to say. I love the shadowed eyes; it just makes him look like he is ready for business. I only wish the eagle claw staff was a bit more obvious, which I could have forced, but probably at the expense of feeling forced.

    So, Mr. Writer Brannon, what would be your dream writing project? What topic, what genre?

  3. 2010-12-09

    Individual short stories (no more than 5 pages) that pay at least $250,000 per story.

  4. 2010-12-09

    Oh, I see: a man of ideals, with that true and proven character we find so rarely in the world today.

  5. 2010-12-13

    Shoot! I did it again. It seems that no matter how long I abstain from using the word “shoot” in reference to photography for fear that someone will hear me wrong or just that I would not communicate clearly, it does not take long to create a problem upon reinstating its use. In reference to this post, I had two people ask (and unknown others wonder) why I was dreaming of “shooting an American Indian”. No, this is not some politically incorrect video game–I do not even plan video games. I guess I will have to keep to clear terms like photographing, imaging, graphing…oh, even graphing does not make sense. I am at a loss.

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