Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Payment plan

I'm a chronic photographer. If I'm walking around I need to be making photographs or I get restless. A lot of times I'll force a photo to happen when it really shouldn't, just to sate my habit. What this means is that I wind up taking a lot of shitty photographs, like this one from last week for example.


I shot this in a park in Corvallis while waiting for this photo show to open. Although there may have been a potential photograph in this scene I didn't get it. I wasn't patient enough or not in the right spot or missed the moment. I'm not sure. All I know is I wound up with yet another stillborn image. It wouldn't even be worth reproducing here if not for what happened next.

I walked around some more, checked out the show, bought a funny used book, and drove home. Tab had stacked my mail on my desk with the New Yorker on top.


Strange! Although the details are hard to discern in the photo, the statues are extremely similar. The same pose, the same bare limbs, the same round pedestal. To encounter this twice in one day was downright weird.

What does it mean beyond that? I'll probably never know, but it's reaffirmed my sense that there is a strange order to things not easily understood. We catch glimpses of it here and there, and occasionally our photographs can capture it and show it to us if we are receptive.

Pay attention to what you see. That's the lesson. Photographers above all others, pay attention.

3 comments:

wolf said...

strange coincidence, but as you know, if you pay attention, these coincidences appear throughout the day.

I see this one as an aesthetic lesson, though, you should have been way closer and waited for the tiny tiny person to walk by. then you could send it to aperture as a photo echo, or photo-synchronicity....

john said...

plate o' shrimp

Blake Andrews said...

That comment reminds me of a Zen koan.

One day the student said to Master Ichu, "Please write for me something of great wisdom."

Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote three words: "plate o' shrimp."

The student said, "Is that all?"

The master wrote, "Plate o' shrimp. Plate o' shrimp."

The student became irritable. "That doesn't seem profound or subtle to me."

In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, "Plate o' shrimp. Plate o' shrimp. Plate o' shrimp."

In frustration, the student demanded, "What does this word 'plate o' shrimp' mean?"

Master Ichu replied, "Plate o' shrimp means plate o' shrimp."