“The courage it took to get out of bed each morning to face the same things over and over was enormous.” Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense
I saw this thing, which I now know is a McCormick-Deering Grain Drill and thought it might make an interesting abstract for Cee’s photo challenge this week. I attached an L-Bracket to my camera to shoot vertically and set up my tripod.
The light wasn’t cooperating so I sat there and waited for a while when the first guy walked up and asked what I was doing. I gave him the short version and asked him what this thing was which he somehow knew.
Ten minutes later a second guy walked up and said: “One mans junk is another mans art right?” I liked his attitude but he was casting a shadow so I asked him to move. He stood there patiently apparently waiting for a response.
I told him I felt there were too many postcard type photos theses days and I like to photograph ordinary things in unusual ways. To see something like this close up and out of context you look at it differently.
So was it worth getting up early, using a tripod, waiting for the best light and processing the files? I’d say yes, it’s much easier than taking up golf and the last thing I want to do in the morning is spoil a good walk.
“To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.” Sengcan
“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” Susan Sontag
“The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.” Gregory Maguire
After watching a very small goat fight a very large pig I got bored and walked over to this horse. He was all alone and as calm as a virgin who never told a lie. I started taking pictures but had trouble finding the right composition.
I was getting more and more frustrated and I guess he could see it in my eyes. Then he looked right at me and said: “Listen, slow the **** down, equanimity arises when we accept the way things are.”
It turns out he was right, not everything has to be the way I want it to be, even a photo of a horse that quotes Jack Kornfield. I did end up cutting off his nose a bit but definitely not to spite his face.
“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.” Junichiro Tanizaki
I’ve been trying to do more abstract images as well as more black and white. After getting my coffee this morning I was driving though farm country and saw a fire in the parking lot of an Amish tourist site and pulled in.
I watched the dancing flames and then started taking photos, waiting for the decisive moment. A farmer came over and asked if he could help me. Usually I answer that with “Are you a Psychiatrist?” but I didn’t want to be rude.
I told him I was trying out a new camera rather than explain the concept of abstract photography to him and he just looked at me. “Kinda strange isn’t it,” I said. “Yes it is” was his reply and he walked away towards his children of the corn.
The amount of time I spent trying to get a black and white abstract image of these tobacco leaves bordered on obsessive compulsive (oh yeah). You might think that since a photo is abstract that sharpness and composition don’t matter but they do, to me at least.
I’m not sure exactly what I was trying to achieve but I think I succeeded. Kirk Varnedoe, author of Pictures of Nothing wrote: “The less there is to look at, the more important it is that we look at it closely and carefully. This is critical to abstract art. Small differences make all the difference.”
Damn right! And photography also keeps me out of the bar.
“Life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore, nor actual difficulty in our life.” Shunryu Suzuki
Note: your results may vary.