VOID OF VISION
I walk and I shoot. It’s nothing glamorous nor anything a more aspiring person would enjoy… but it’s what I do. I shoot for scenes but always feel frustrated that most scenes portray everything in general and nothing in particular.
What’s worse, is that after I shoot, sometimes for weeks, months or years I don’t see what’s really in those photos till I look at them again. Like take this photo for instance… I only saw a balloon sculptor with a bunch of kids in awe of some silly twists on a rubber tube filled with exhale. But after a long period away from the photo, I returned to see the mom looking one way… and her little dog looking the other; neither one of them looking at the balloon guy.
And then I noticed that, one of the yellow lines in the street, got caught in an unfortunate location coming off the thigh of the sculptor. At least that’s what I think it is.
And this photo that nearly caused me to have an auto accident as I performed a radical u-turn and pulled into the lot to shoot. I shot it just because. I do lots of things just because. Isn’t it valid to not have a reason at the time? But months later I look at it and realize it’s a mural on the side of furniture store and the mural is all about furniture. Either due to the lack of it, this girl is laying on the floor leaning on the dog… or she prefers the dog to lean on as furniture.
And what about the curtained window between her legs… never saw that before! Either way it feels like I was void of vision when I shot it, but time and distance has given me wisdom to see. What if everything we see when we first see it is void of almost 100% of what it really has to offer?
In leaving a restaurant in San Francisco I snapped fast at nothing. And now I look at this dreamy pic and see two doors opening to the light. I see twenty white dots like seen on the top of a black domino. And I wonder why exit signs promote the departure of one place but never the arrival at another. Why don’t exit signs say instead, “Enter”?
And this picture I looked at forever and love it every time for no good reason. The guy in the front is making kettle corn in a kettle. The guy in the back is barbecuing ribs on a barbecue. Smoke is everywhere and popcorn guy protects his face from flying debris. Today, all I can see is that one kernel that got away. As if all that corn was bound for consumption but one special kernel blasted itself free.
Another car accident avoided as I pulled a u-ee to grab this shot out my driver’s side window. I’ve looked at this photo so many times and always saw the same obvious psychedelic wheel behind two lovers shooting a selfie. I honestly can’t see anything more here, but do like the shot better than the first day it was taken. And sometimes I see a father and daughter standing in front of a braided rug… but who knows…maybe next year I’ll some thing else.
Maybe the two of them are shooting something in the distance far in front of them, and they both are oblivious to the wall behind them?
Underneath the last building Frank Lloyd Wright built before he passed away… a woman sat waiting. I find my attention wants to be drawn to the two lights above her trying to form a smiley face with her shadow and the silhouette. Also, I never noticed how her ankles and fingers were so nicely interlocked and inline.
Now this shot I always thought, was just an odd collection of images. When taken out of context, what’s that guy painting, with his gloved hand at rest, and his easel box on a tripod?
When I took this shot, all I saw was the poor old guy in blue sweats smoking a butt like a boss. I really never even noticed that the guy next to him walking away had his red butt out, much less how it matched the red ices the kids are eating. More evidence that most of us may look at things but never really see all that’s there.
Another shot I just grabbed and continue to glare into for deep meaning. As of today, I cannot find anything hidden, juxtaposed or ironic. Perhaps in a year or two I will find something deep like the fact that this is a photo of a jewelry repair shop that offers photography services. Or is it a photography studio offering jewelry repair?
So the strangest thing happened the other day. Because I walk and shoot, I naturally find many homeless people along the way. I never feel that I’m exploiting their situation and actually wonder all about them. I wonder about why some have really nice sneakers. Or how the signs they hold are uniform in size and so nicely written. So anyway, I get this email the other day from one of my readers. He said he wanted to use one of my photos as a featured image in a blog on homelessness, that he was writing for his church.
It made me feel good that these images I capture can be used to raise awareness to a human condition that is not usually seen by many much less discussed. And all of this is connected to how little I saw in it, when I first shot it… and who knows how long after I shot it that the reader found their perceived value in the shot.
Today when I look at the image below, after having consumed too many Christmas cookies myself, it occurs to me that maybe the poor guy just ate too many Peanut Butter Crunch Bars, slipped into a sugar coma and just needed to lay down.