I have a friend who says, "hone your myth" all the time. Waking up to our preconceptions is not practiced nearly enough. My "myths" present themselves when I take pictures. I catch myself framing up stereotypes, perfect examples of romance, family, love, hearth, culture, sex, archetypes of all kinds.
Here, we have "eastern(black leather jacket, shaved head) European, set against aging cobblestoned village". Of course, we have "moment"-- mid-stride sunlit center-of-frameness. Our myths are everything we have come to romanticize or demonize, or have subconsciously decided is a type or truth. We shape ourselves from these "decisions" that started with family observation, storybooks, school, tv, movies, video games, all of the experiences that contribute to our own mythology. Usually they are dead wrong. Then as we learn man's classical mythology we pair up our own with what's "universal" and begin honing that myth. Photographing helps me to wake up to my own and calibrate them.
I took this in Prague and it reminds me of Josef Sudek who is a hero and whom I quote:
"Everything around us, dead or alive, in the eyes of a crazy photographer mysteriously takes on many variations, so that a seemingly dead object comes to life through light or by its surrounding. And if the photographer has a bit of sense in his head maybe he is able to capture some of this-- and I suppose that's lyricism."
It's the day after the end of the world and it's not bad. Mayan calendars not withstanding, taking a second to acknowledge NOW-- really ought to be daily, if not hourly. Turn off the noise for a moment.
Put down the device. Offer a hand to the young or old, and engage the gratitude engine. I've heard gratitude is the most healthful state we can enter, producing endorphins and dopamine and encourages the same in others.
I think nature is my church. Yes, I'm often moved by forest cathedrals and accidents of moment-- uncanny coincidences and the bizarre or unexpected. But what stirs the soul I believe, is the humility one feels near vast expanse. It is imposing on the edge of abyss. Yet somehow, insignificance and uniqueness coexist there. Yes, I feel teensy. And I matter. It's good to have this kind of humility pushed up next to the infinite. It tames the ego. And it also evokes possibility. Photographically, it is these ideas I try to elicit from images of landscape.
I wasn't even at this wedding. As we ascended the stairs in a hotel I glanced down and luckily had a camera at the ready. Telling moments like this require preparedness. In this instance I wasn't ready-- it wasn't an affair I had anything to do with...except a camera was in my hand.
I never found out who they were so they never saw it. Oh well....
This is Timo. He now insists at 8, to be Hank. I love this picture. He's so vulnerable there, yet so relaxed, unaware of a lifetime ahead. The sun pours in, hopeful. What heartstring isn't tugged by such an image? Precious children. It seemed like a good day to praise them.
I have been drawn to many things as reiterated here. I approach them in as varied points of view as possible. The form of this water tower has always attracted my eye and it's a challenging subject due to it's rooftop location and thus restricted access. So I encircle it and see what I can find. Joel Meyerowitz did this so beautifully in his book on the Saint Louis Arch. So I was squeezing the tower between these poles-- and I saw the "rage" part of the word "storage" on the building behind, juxtaposed with the stop sign and what the hell? Who doesn't want to stop rage? Anyway, accidents happen.
Among so many other things, the photographer looks at many photographs. A love affair often forms and this is true for me too. When I saw Cape Light by Joel Meyerowitz, in which he presents images from a summer on Cape Cod, I discovered the idea of photographing atmosphere. A place is nothing but atmosphere, really, but it is far more than objects and orientation. It is a moment. And under certain conditions, the moment is more visible. But it is especially difficult to record well. An 8x10 film negative does not hurt. I got to speak with Jock Sturges who works this way, and he raised the notion of "transparency of image". Verisimilitude, or nearness to reality, becomes a goal in approximating this feeling of a place and a moment. I will always try.
When identification happens, how can I unidentify it? This is a question that works in my background. There are attributes that draw me in but when taken out of context, strain the eyes and the part of our brain that seeks understanding. I think images of this sort are more enduring. Every set of new eyes has the same problem and it becomes amusing to watch the attempts at ID-ing all over again. Sometimes it's easier than others....