Taking a Busman’s Holiday

THROUGH A TOWNIE’S LENS

By Jock Lauterer

With shots in arms and no ill effects and, thus, feeling giddy with liberation, good wife Lynne and I have done what so many other pent-up septuagenarians have done — hit the road for a change of lifestyle, scenery and pace. To make the vacation feel even more like free time, I’m taking a busman’s holiday.

Before proceeding to another paragraph, I had to look up the meaning of that expression, which I had jotted down so blithely. And sure enough, a busman’s holiday is defined as “going on vacation but doing what you normally do at work.” The derivation of the expression goes back to the 1890s, when a British bus driver went to the seaside but had to get there via bus. So, a busman’s holiday has an ironic twist about it.

Now, how does a photographer go on a vacation? A photographer is never not a photographer. The camera, no matter how grand or humble, is always with us — an extension of our body, eye and soul. In fact, leaving the house without a camera makes me feel downright undressed. A camera goes with me everywhere and, as often as not, I have a backup camera stashed somewhere nearby, just in case. For you never know when you’ll run into something that demands to be photographed.

This week’s abbreviated “Through a Townie’s Lens” — my busman’s holiday — celebrates “roadside vernacular,“ the kind of surprisingly fun and quirky stuff you can observe on a daily walk. In this case, a post-Halloween scene from Southern Village, accompanied by this haiku.

The things we throw away

Flotsam and jetsam of life

A farewell to arms.


Jock Lauterer began selling newspapers for Jim Shumaker and Roland Giduz on the streets of Chapel Hill at the age of 8. For the last 20 years, he has served as a senior lecturer and adjunct professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, teaching photojournalism and community journalism.

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1 Comment on "Taking a Busman’s Holiday"

  1. Enjoy your well-deserved vacay!

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