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Location: Midwest, United States

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Photographic Memories

Once the storm settles and it’s safe to venture back into the world, I’ll shop for a digital camera. Although I matriculated with a Masters in Photography, I have photographed very little since the mid-80’s. I always intended to pick up a camera again…eventually.

There’s a bit of symmetry in this. I studied for my Masters in the years following my first divorce. Photography gave me new eyes, the chance to look at the world afresh. I guess, in some way, you can say that photography saved my life.

It’s that time again. I need to open my eyes and see the world again. I must simply live and observe and celebrate. I need a camera to record the journey. At my age, there aren’t all that many voyages of discovery left to me.

* * *

I’ve never felt comfortable talking about my photography. I don’t know why that is.

It was a fellow student who noted a common element in all of my work. He bought one of my prints and he said: “I love your work…it’s so quiet.”


I honestly had not considered that myself. I surely was not consciously pursuing some pre-determined aesthetic, some intellectual construct. I simply captured images that resonated within me. Some images felt right, others didn’t. I only printed and exhibited the ones that felt right. It was only after the student made his comment that I took a big step back and realized just how right he was. My images were, indeed, quiet. Silence saturated my work.

My visual thesis was entitled “Fog.” It was comprised of thirty-six photographs of silent, shrouded landscapes. It looked as if the world stood still, hesitating to even breathe. I’ve sold or given away every photograph. Except one. A bleak, wintry landscape shrouded in clouds and silence.

I guess it was a self-portrait.

* * *

The strange thing is, I NEVER photographed people in those years. I just didn’t.

Today, all I hunger for are photographs of friends, family and lovers. I wish I had photographs of the images that dance in my head, hour after hour, day after day, month after month.

I wish I had captured her face when, after making love, with rain falling gently outside the open windows, she looked at the sky with a smile playing on her lips. I wish I had captured the smiles, the glow, the laughter…

* * *


Blogger PattiKen said...

Beautiful image. I'm not sure "bleak" is the word I'd use, though. The first word that came to mind was "pregnant."

Thu Mar 31, 10:45:00 PM  

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