The Fountain / by Brian Surguine

A strange sequence of sounds: whirring noises, then fizzing, and finally the pattering of water as it falls on children anxiously waiting to cool off in the radiant sun. Shrieks and screams ring out as billowing plumes fall from the sky, bent by the wind.

I visit St. Joseph often. My in-laws live and work there, and we love to visit the beaches and wineries. My wife and I got married there just a month and a half ago, and we can't think of a better place we could have held our wedding. The lake, the beach, the town - they all carry significant memories and meaning for us.

On this particular day, we had decided to visit the pier. The placid blue of the lake and sky were dotted with the fluorescent pinks and lime greens of neon-colored swimwear screeching for attention. As we walked past the fountain, the huge jets came on, and I recognized an opportunity. With a fleeting, partially-exasperated look from my wife, I left her with my film camera and ran into the spray with my Fuji.

The weeks since our wedding have been filled with wedding photography. It's been really great work, and I love having Marsie shoot with me as my new assistant, but from time to time it's good to shoot something different. Though we've been to St. Joseph a lot, I always overlooked the fountain.

Photographing something you're familiar with is oddly satisfying. I know the fountain: I've walked around it, looked at it from the bluffs, watched it from Silver Beach Pizza. But the people in the fountain on this day grabbed me. Relaxed from a long weekend, carefree from the sun and water: fountains bring something innocent out in people.

I didn't plan on it, but I'm glad I got a little wet. It's like the fountain left its mark on me: "It's not the same if you don't get wet. Here you go! Now stop worrying and have fun." That little splash was the one perfect, needed ingredient. I left feeling cleansed of my concerns, rested, and joyful.