My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Train of Thought?

I cracked myself up this morning. I stepped onto my patio, cup of coffee and cigarettes in hand. I settled into my lawn chair and lit up a smoke. I marveled at the light. The shadows were deep and long with the sun hanging low on the horizon. I love the fall light…I love fall.

The somnolent photographer in me lifted an eyebrow and roused himself enough to examine this thought more closely. Does fall truly offer the best light? Let’s see. Summer light is just awful…washed out and flat. Spring light? Not really. The light is bright, and can be mesmerizing, but spring is more about the scent of the very air itself. Winter? Hmmmm. Winter light resonates within me. It shifts from stark, steely-gray hues to the flash of diamonds. I thought about the painter Delacroix who wrote that shadows aren’t really black at all; they are…in I love the blue shadows on a crisp, bright, sparkling winter day. I love the serenity of the gray days. Winter light is a close second to fall light in mystery and beauty.

About then, I recalled how I came to see the world exclusively in black and white for a while. I was studying photography. I preferred to shoot in black and white because I loved the interplay of shadows and light. Without any conscious effort on my part, I gradually came to see the world in black and white. It was a most intriguing experience. There are many aspects of photography that please me, but developing an awareness of how we see, and what we fix our gaze upon, is one of the greatest benefits.

And then I thought about the photography exhibit I recently enjoyed at the Art Institute. The photographs captured Parisian life during the Belle Epoch. The photographs were lush and gorgeous. I then mused how sad that so few photographers use Amidol developer with Agfa cream matte paper. The resulting prints are velvet and smoke. And then I recalled the gloss black fingernails on Brett Weston's right hand, permanently stained by a lifetime spent as a photographer.

And then I thought how beautiful and wondrous Paris must have been at the turn of the century. Imagine...the clatter of horses’ hooves everywhere. The flair, the fashion, the contrasts, the café life...the whole grand majesty of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. And then I thought: I’d love to live in Paris, even in the present day. Paris is different, now. But it is still a magnificent experience to walk its streets. And then I thought that, although I would love to be a Parisian for a while, it would never feel like home. Why? Because I am a child of the prairie. Where did that revelation come from? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about my few moments of clarity...(more on that later).

With that, I cracked up. Does everyone think the way I do? I have absolutely no idea how different people think. I suspect we humans have incredibly diverse ways of thinking, of processing information and parsing thoughts. We often refer to “trains of thought.” Well, I just gave you an example of the terrain my brain traverses in the space of a cup of coffee and two cigarettes. My thought process doesn’t feel like a train of thought. It’s more a carousel, with hand-carved and decorated creatures bobbing up and down and round and round...while a calliope plays gaily on...

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones