It’s the last day of 2012 and I’m grateful for a safe journey front-to-back. I almost said uneventful but although that’s a convenient euphemism for a period without crisis, I think it is really a sacrilege to say that something as precious as a year passed without a person’s notice of the miracles and wonders that occur every second of every day.
A photographer should be about the business of capturing some of these events that would otherwise be ignored and invalidated by most of us if no effort were made to grant the day it’s just due. As a way of reflecting on my year I’ve quickly selected twelve photographs to try to caption with my version of meaning.
1 Can You Help
My street shooting is a constant challenge. Like many, I often hesitate to interact with the subjects but on the other hand sometimes you need to capture a certain authentic moment that the interaction would otherwise change. I didn’t hide here but neither did I rush forward with an introduction. For some, begging or “cupping” is their job; their “nine to five”. The new cane or limp coming toward you that lessens on the way back are sometimes a giveaway. Something about Melvin tells me he’s not faking, his pain is real.
2 Being a Good Husband (Sorta)
This Osprey male at Waseeka Wildlife Sanctuary was trying to fulfill his role in the partnership. He brought her a kinda small but meaningful snack while she sat the eggs for at least an hour or more while I was there. Once he laid the fish in the nest, she first picked it up and examined it as if to say “This is all you brought!” Then she flew off to another tree not too far away to eat her meal in peace, perhaps as chastisement for such a meager offering. Soon she stretched and flew back to the nest where amazingly, a quick copulation took place. I’m surely anthromorphosizing but I wish he hadn’t have done that. Just gives credence to the “Typical male. Nothing but sex on the mind” thing. Oh well.
3 Being a Helicopter Mom (Sorta)
There really is a moment when it’s time to kick them out of the nest. While this fledgling robin sits in the sun, resting on the head of Buddha, the mother continues not only to gather food for the “not so” youngster but patiently delivers the morsel to the juvenile beak by frantically flapping so as to hover in the air where the delinquent can grab it without any effort. I’d say it’s time for the freeloader to get flappin.
4 Some Kind of Onion
I’m not as good with plant species as I ought to be. As a matter of fact, shooting is a wonderful impetus to discovery for me as I make the image of something that fascinates me and then frantically search for some reference or source that lets me know what “it” is. So far my only source, a very close friend and avid flower gardener says…” Hi Arni… I would say it’s in the Allium family (onion family) but not certain… they are beautiful” Who knew an onion could be so picturesque, literally?
5 Spanish Moss
A trip south to Savannah Georgia gave me several opportunities to view Spanish Moss on the native trees. There is something mystical and magical about a road or path overarched with the hanging plant. Certainly it conjures memories of the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” which I watched for a second time on our return. It is also interesting to note that the Wikipedia article notes that amongst other uses, “It is also used by some as the filling for traditional voodoo dolls.” (I wonder who the “some” are it’s referring too.)
6 Death is Certain
Fort Revere Park is in Hull. It is a site with historical significance however in present times it has also become a blank canvas for teens and others to express their views on the human condition: theirs and ours. I spent an afternoon there with my photographer friend Mitch Weiss. Once we arrived we spent most of the time apart recording our impressions on what was there. I was struck by the variety of feelings expressed there including hope and dispair. One person wrote “Standing on a hill in the mountain of dreams, Tellin myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.” Another expressed “Death is Certain, Life is Not!” Time and time again I find that our young adults are a lot deeper than we allow ourselves to think.
7 You’ll Look Good In This
For a few weeks a beautiful portrait of me hung in a very upscale boutique (Reiss – London) on Newbury Street. I wonder what if anything went through a potential customers mind as I gazed at them while they contemplated a purchase. Did sales go up or down or did anyone even notice
8 Success Directives
As we move through life, it seems as though there are a never ending flow of success directives that “they” say we should be adhering to. Who the heck are they? And if their ideas were so doggone great, how come they have so much spare time to preach them to us. Success usually keeps one very busy.
9 Living and Dying
The map said there was a nature preserve in Gardner Mass. Drove for almost a whole afternoon only to find out that there was no entry road or public access to the area. Trying not to feel “skunked” we tried a few roads that looked promising. This one on the way to a cemetery had these interesting mushrooms growing in damp soil thick with rotting leaves. The dying leaves enrich the soil from which the mushrooms take their sustenance.
10 Hopalong Cassidy
I’m old enough to remember Hopalong Cassidy. When I was a really young black kid growing up in Chicago. Too young to realize that I didn’t want to grow up to be a lariat spinning gun toting cowboy. And couldn’t anyway. I saw these in a quaint diner on Martha’s Vineyard in November.
11 Looks Like A Hard Life
Of course we see life forms in the world and attach equivalents of our own experiences to the lives of those birds, squirrels, ants and the like. I see the sand pipers run seaward when the waves retreat, scurrying to peck and eat precious meals from the wet sand. Only to suddenly turn and beat a hasty retreat as the next wave washes ashore. Looks like a hard life to me. But then again, they get to fly. Hmmmm!
12 Abstract Iron Hand
For some reason I’m attracted to scrap iron, iron grates, stuff that has character. I secretly wish I could talk to some of these artifacts and ask them about their tales from their lives. This is but one of many I’d like to talk to.