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This photograph, this picture, this image makes me sad because even though it portrays life willfully springing up from what would otherwise be barren soil, overcoming the hardships of nature’s own indifferent fury, it puts me in mind of a vast and lonely emptiness. Lives incapable of vices or virtues, secret prides and even more secret shames, of guilt or accolades. A flower feels no joie de vivre.
There’s also the vague and timid notion that this sort of picture is too-often taken by hacks with nothing better to shoot and that, although it is good in its own right, it’s also going to be drowned out by the din of people taking pictures of flowers at sunset.
This image, ultimately, reminds me that my interests lie elsewhere. That I should regularly, consistently, habitually seek to find compelling subjects to capture and methods to do so rather than tacitly rely on the tried and true.
Happy New Year.
My niece, now age 16, is probably my favorite relative but don’t tell her. There’s a decade between us, and even so, she’s the only one that is simultaneously worth talking to and not terribly preoccupied with grown-up concerns the vast majority of the time. A surprisingly difficult pair of qualities to find.
As such, it’s also terribly good fun to joke around and pick on her whenever the chance arises. As you can see here, she doesn’t always appreciate it very much but gets over it quickly as something else captures her attention. Simultaneously one of her best and worst qualities, depending on the situation — certainly a defining one either way — her attention stays dialed to the proverbial moment rather than any particular object.
And yet she’s also capable of great stability. When she finds something she likes or is good at, she instinctively knows to (and how to) hold onto it with both hands and not only last, but develop. Something I wish I’d learned sooner since I wasn’t lucky enough to know it all along.
Maybe next time the tornado sirens go off, I’ll watch from the basement. Or not.
Sometimes I love this photo.
It was taken in the quickly gathering darkness as we hurried to where the lights glowed like fireflies in the fog. It was impossible to get a clear shot through the trees. By the time we arrived, the magic seen from a distance had faded into reality. We had been fast but the night was faster still.
Every picture has a bit of a story, and in this case, that includes a girl in purple hiding behind her mother who also happens to be taking one.
First Snow II