When a Photograph Becomes Inextricably Connected to a Song

By Nicholas Scribner
June 26, 2022

If you look at my cover photo on Facebook from March 3, 2021, you will see the first photo I took of my second dog, Missy. You will notice the photo is not in focus, because she was moving so much. I only had one opportunity to take my first photo, and I did my best. (In my mind, the cardinal rule of photography is making sure the photo is sharp.) In the case of my first photo of Missy, I was OK with her not being in focus—if anything it made the photo better, since one can see a glint in her left eye that might not have been as noticeable had the photo been in focus.

After taking a Greyhound bus to Des Moines last year, shortly before I posted the photo, I kept thinking of two memories simultaneously. My first memory was of my first photo of Missy, which was easy enough to find; my second memory was of the synthesizer sound at 3:14 in this YouTube video (note: the YouTube link will start the video at 2:51 for context). It took me a while to find the song, because my only memory was of the sound that lasts eight seconds at the end of a song. But after considerable time (I don't remember if it was days or weeks) and much thought, I eventually found the song: "Fortune" by Little Dragon.

There's something about the photo of Missy and the synthesizer sound that just seem to go together. I feel the overarching idea the two media evoke is Missy's mortality.

Missy was born in March 2014, almost exactly three years after her half-brother Pugsley. In recent years, she's been on medication for some medical condition that I don't know much about. I named both my dogs, but it was Missy who I had the hardest time naming. I even spent time researching dog names at the Chanhassen Library. I eventually settled on Missy, because I wanted her never to get hurt. No matter what life would throw at her, everything would be a "miss."

But it didn't turn out that way. She's now on medication and is overweight, though I am trying to lower her weight. I'm afraid to ask about her life expectancy. All I can do is cherish the time we have left together.

Sometimes I think my dogs will thank me in the afterlife (heaven). I think of them as helpless, innocent creatures, who wish they understood more language and the meaning of life. I wish they knew how important they are to me, and how I go out of my way to post photos of them online to celebrate them. If they knew I stayed up late to write this article tonight, I hope they would understand how much they mean to me.

Article ID: 12