“Days, pale slices between nights, they blend, not exactly alike, transparencies so lightly tinted that only stacked all together do they darken to a fatal shade.” John Updike
“There is no doubt that creative work is itself done under a compulsion often indistinguishable from a purely clinical obsession. In this sense, what we call a creative gift is merely the social license to be obsessed.” Otto Rank
Note to self: check the date on my social license to be obsessed, I don’t want it to expire anytime soon.
“It is the little things that are vital. Little things make the big things happen.” John Wooden
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.
I pulled into the parking lot of a huge farm stand to try to get a good photo of pumpkins. I tried different angles, apertures and focus points with both of my cameras. Suddenly a smiling Amish guy comes out and asks me if I’m with the newspaper.
I told him no and continued shooting while the light was good. A minute later he was standing right next to me. This time I decided to enlighten him to what I was doing and why. The conversation went like this:
Q. “Are you a photographer?
A. “Well I guess that’s a matter of opinion.”
Q. “Why are you taking so many pictures?”
A. “I’m trying to get one good one.
Q. “What do you do with these pictures?”
A. “I have a website (I figured saying I had a blog was too confusing).
Q. “How do you make money doing this?”
A. “I don’t, it just gives me something to do.
This went on until the clouds burned off and it was too bright. I took a chance and actually asked him if he had a computer to show him some of my stuff but of course he didn’t.
I wanted to explain to him what that great philosopher Charlie Brown once said: “If we could see the miracle of a single pumpkin stem clearly, our whole life would change,” but I thought his head might explode.
I said goodbye and got into my car and he said Beheef dich! It sounded like he was calling me an insulting name in Pennsylvania Dutch but it turns out that the phrase just means behave yourself.
“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 believe it was Edward Weston who said there are no bad onions, only bad photographs of onions. So when I saw the Free Onions sign I stopped to grab some for a still life. But they were all bad and I didn’t want to stink up my car.
I took a few shots to see if I could capture their beauty even though they are basically pig food now. I’m not sure if this is a good photograph because I’m not a professional onion photographer, but it’s my best out of thirty five.
Weston also said something that I’ve always liked: “Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.” Now all I have to do is explain that to the Amish farmers.
“It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Charles Dickens