Archive for January, 2008

High Priest

Caleb came walking in my father-in-law’s house from a winter storm with his priest’s robe on. I had wanted to make a portrait of Caleb in the past, but when I saw him at this moment I knew I had to do it soon and in the snow. While trying to load my camera and focus in the snow I noticed him look down. This gesture was one that said contemplation and modesty.

Becoming a Painter

“Photographs may be more memorable than moving images, because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow. Television is a stream of underselected images, each of which cancels its predecessor. Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again.” Susan Sontag said this in her 1973 book On Photography, which has become a classic look at the phenomenon of photography.
The discussion Sontag has with the reader about photography is relative to the discussion certain fields of professional photography are contemplating presently. In photojournalism, and its present rush to fill the web with “content”, photographers are morphing into videographers as if the transition were as evolutionary as a poet into a novelist.
This photograph isn’t the best illustration of the late Ms. Sontag’s quote. It’s representative of a fleeting subconscious thought that surfaced when I saw some moment or scene and said to myself, “I need to put this onto film so I can stare at it for a while.” It may not even be interesting. For me, as I’ve said in the past, these moments are those when I think, “If I were a painter, this is what I would paint.”

Worth Fightin’ For

“Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” Gerald O’Hara was on to something when he said this to the naive Scarlett in Gone with the Wind.
Land and not religion is at the root of nearly all problems we’re facing in the world, and the more people push the blame in other directions the further we’ll come from finding any solutions.
Spencer Wells is the head of National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project, a search for the evidence of where we all came from. He had this to say about why and how we all moved from our native Africa. “It was less of a journey and probably more like walking a little farther down the beach to get away from the crowd.”
I walked down this beach in New Hampshire and saw these steps leading up from the sand into someone’s private estate. It made me think of how far we’ve come.