"Dorothy" / by Justin Merriman

Dorothy Black, 81, of North Versailles stands in her living room dressed as her favorite character, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, on Wednesday afternoon, November 18, 2009. She has been collecting Wizard of Oz memorabilia since the movie was released 70 years ago. When I showed up at her house she answered the door dressed as you see her in the photo. She then explained to me that she didn't want me to take any photographs of her. I had to laugh. I told her how great I thought she looked and explained that I really wanted to take her photograph. After a little convincing she agreed. I tried and tried several different portraits and ended up using the one I posted, but left feeling like I didn't capture the best image possible. Before leaving I had to ask her one question, "You've been a fan of the Wizard of Oz for nearly 70 years," I asked. "I have to know how many times have you watched the movie." She thought for a second and replied excitedly, "Oh my, I have probably watched it about 20 times." I paused for a second and had to chuckle to myself. I felt sad to admit it to myself, but I've probably watched it as many times in my 32 years as she has in the last 70 years. All in all it was one of those assignments that left you smiling. Dorothy was as sweet as they come and I enjoyed talking with her as much as I enjoyed making a photograph of her.