Sunday, August 25, 2013


It’s another day.  The late morning still feels cold in this rainy August.  Rising from beneath the sheets feels all too awkward.  There is a whisper of a thought that tugs along with the feeling of just letting the day pass uneventful.  Still, I have to quell the slowly swelling train of thought that suddenly nags me to just go fill up blank pages, see whether blackening white sheets will be enough to occupy the seemingly empty day ahead, and having a cup of coffee, maybe several, by arm’s reach, to keep me company. 

Photographs.  I love staring at them.  They speak to us in ways we imagine them to.  They’re silent but each intersecting color or shade talks and fills our eyes.  Sometimes they reach far deep into our consciousness to claw into where we have buried memories and help us remember.  They capture a time and place in the past we all wish to be in the instant we see them.  They hold scenes and smiles we want to grasp, to hold and to keep us steadily on course through the present.  There is power in a single captured smile, tear, expression of surprise, confusion, pure effort, fear, or a warm frozen sunset, or that cold blue mountain, background to a warm cup of coffee cupped in two hands.  Lines within framed photos are lullabys.  They sway us to sleep, to act, to push on, or to surrender to what we understand them to mean.  The way a photo holds still our minds is sweet mystery.  It grapples our thoughts and the way we interpret the light that reflects off the subject’s eyes, the captured blank and still stare into nothing or that curvy lip upturned to a smile that outlasts lifetimes. 

Photographs.  They tell stories.  They are told within the photos.  They are stories told through the eyes of the one who took them.  Sometimes the photo tells the story too of the one who saw through the lens.  It’s a romantic trip to imagine oneself in the photo as a passive observer taking a look at the entire scene and looking at the person holding the camera.  What is on his mind?  What does his eyes see? Does his eyes carry purely sight or does it carry a gaze that reflects who he is or what he feels?  What small detail does he see that no one else can.  There can be a scrutiny of the smallest of reflections, two pairs of eyes meeting that no one else can see.  What emotion is carried through as the shutter clicks?  How much of himself gets printed into the photo?  Souls I think are captured in photos.  It steals a little bit of time, a little bit of the artist and a little bit of the reflections the lenses capture.  It is for these reasons maybe that some photos will be hard to look at.  You’ll see into people and see something you’ll refuse to see or feel or maybe something that makes you believe or not believe.    

Photographs reveal journeys, both subject and photographer moving together one frame at a time.  The large sweeping landscapes that pass, the small details of torn skin being patched up, the cold quiet evenings around orange-gold firelight that ends under quilted warm blankets, routes getting finished in succession, and everything else that ends in simple wide smiles that are captured in stills are all silent but profound.  Each single photo is a timekeeper, a book without words, or a movie without sound or motion.  One glance, a hundred memories, a spilling over of emotions that, when you close your eyes after a glimpse, takes you back and gives hope that pushes you forward.

These are photos from a trip to Europe I took in 2008.  When the next one will be I am not sure of.  It was a trip made alone but a trip that opened doors and realizations one can only get when traveling alone.  It is a trip I'll go take again to gain me new perspectives.  Life can't be told in one photo or one album.  It goes on, it takes a glimpse, one or two, maybe several times, but after opening our eyes again, we'll see new things and probably more colorful photographs.

Fresh homemade pizza ! Yum !
Climbing in  Sisteron

The bench I slept at for one night in Gap.
Tourist office.
Yup!  50% off !
Gap town center
Enroute to Ceuse !

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