By Train From Paris to the South of France
How many times do we see something while driving, then pull over, leap out of the car, and race into the picture space to capture what it was that called out to us? Here, while opening the door and reaching for the camera, I saw the frame within the frame and the way the mist seemed to have slightly different densities between the two. I made the photograph and then stepped out to be in the space more fully.
And although it was lovely being out there with the rolling mist and the small scale of the buildings on the far hill, it was the odd presence of the door’s shape that made the frame,e more playful and interesting.
I remember setting out that morning to drive an hour south so we could look at a fireplace that might be built in the house we were renting. The day was, as it often is at this time of year, mist filled in every dip and hollow and even heavier fog down on the flatlands of this one time sea bottom of a valley. And yet, just 20 minutes from here, when entering the next valley, the sun was out and the micro climate of that place made it into another day entirely.
I was shooting from the car as I often do and realized how frequently the single tree in the landscape appeals to me.
Oh, those mornings! The spectacle of seeing through the watered sky. All that suspended moisture acting as prism, or screen, or veil, hiding things while revealing another dimension of seeing. And then that gift of silence that falls over the land as does the mist itself. It’s an offering of contemplation that makes every morning an invitation to go out into it.
Even though the beauty of it seems to be everywhere it still takes a kind of discrimination to see, not the superficial beauties, but those other characteristics that speak to one’s own sense of necessity.
A lazy mist drifted through and over the valleys that the road rolled through, so that at times I was above the clouds and then down under them. It felt a little like flying. And it was dreamy too, in that same way that flight can make you feel when passing through the clouds at 30,000 feet.
Up ahead the mist spooled across the road, and the moment felt timeless. The thing that separated me from the old world, it seemed, were the little pings of reflected light to mark the borders of the road. Out there was timelessness, inside the modern machine, with a camera in my hands, I could make a photograph at 50 mph and still get good quality, and a degree of sharpness that tells me how good our technology really is. It is important to be able to count on it that way and thus not have any fear about what the outcome will be.
I’ve basically used the same equipment for 50+ years. I don’t keep changing cameras, or go into the equipment mind set searching for the latest toys. For me the Leica and a good 35mm lens, and that’s all I need to say what I see, and to stay open to the act of seeing the world freshly.
How lucky I was to be out early that day because the world was completely suffused in morning fog. Everything was a blur in the mist and magical to see, or try and see. After about an hour of walking and shooting this gauzy world the sun burned though and lifted some of the ground fog, and for a moment, really, just a moment and then – whoosh – the world was lit.
But that moment between the two was a delicacy that lifted my entire being. What a world we are in, what a magical, remarkable, unexpected jewel of a world!