Before cars and people came down this street, before roads and houses were built, before walls were mounded up for defense or boundaries, the stones themselves felt water rushing past. I never cease to wonder when I stop here, about the marks grooved into the stone, and how many millennia of rising and falling waters have passed since this was part of the sea bottom or shoreline of what is now the Mediterranean Sea.
The courses of stones and the courses of the smoothed ridges blend together in a stony harmony that delights my eye, and I always seem to find a reason to lift my camera and try to make a photograph that describes what it is I see. This image, made at the end of day, when the light was flat and had the faintest lavender cast to it, may (or may not) work, because it doesn’t depend on the glory of sunlight, or the drama of some action, to set off the place from the rather ordinary seeming place that it is. It is just its unmediated self now.
It’s the rocks that first produce the ‘beat’ that means something to me and makes me stop, so I need to reconsider what it is I want to say about them. Fortunately I had time here to look again and again, since I walked this way every few days. It’s a little like solving a math problem in one’s head, and by going over it again and again the meaning may resolve itself.
Once, when I was around 15, I saw Albert Einstein walking the back streets of Princeton, while I was on a day trip there from summer camp, and had slipped away from my group. He was on a back street; tree lined, quiet, nothing to mark it as special from the next one, and as I watched him from a hundred yards away, he stopped and stood for a long time doing nothing, head tilted slightly up, possibly watching the leaves trembling, or listening to the birds. Perhaps he was following a line of reasoning that was out there in the universe of his mind’s embrace. Of course it was impossible to imagine then, as it is now, what anyone else thinks about, but standing still, and taking it all in, like Einstein, is part of the photographic act at certain moments. And certain moments are what photographs are made of.
Like this one.