Coming back from a late walk on our country road we heard the rasp of a motorcycle bearing down on us fast, I whirled, camera blazing, and gunned him down. Well, it wasn’t as wild west as all that, more like; I turned, guessed at the aperture and speed at that hour, something the Leica is great for and allows intuition and memory to serve in the moment, and made 3 frames of him coming past us, and the lovely hour, and the sweet space of the road curving away into the hills.
It was one of those magical moments when the quiet of the past is settling over the land, and then the intruder – mechanization – comes bursting into the silence, but is gone in a moment leaving behind a slowly returning quiet. I felt that this photograph meant all that to me, even though it looks like a road at dusk, with a headlamp on a motorcycle blazing into our eyes.
At a roadside rest stop I saw this cop walking over to make an inquiry of the driver of the Michelin truck and was amused momentarily by the symmetry of the scene; the colors of their uniforms, the dual cellphones, the pair of comic book images. It was just a moment in passing, but something about it was potentially interesting.
Meanwhile a friend has been involved with a project that involves crude, hand made Michelin men figures, photographed in an African nation where Michelin doesn’t support their distributors with any kind of advertising iconography, so the garage guys make their own. This work is currently on its way into a book. Here’s a peek at a few wild images of Michelin men.
People do the craziest things! And I’m glad of it! Where would photography be without the daily dose of little lunacies? Running mothers, in marathon training, pushing baby strollers in front, with dogs trailing behind, people slurping enormous ice-cream cones, or carrying far too many things while reaching for their car keys, or the many multitasking visual moments that are indescribable until you actually see it happening. All minor events, yet with great visual potential. Like this guy hitching a soon to be uphill ride beside a little 3 wheeled Api in Tuscany.
Only the camera can tear a thousandth of a second out of the flow of reality.
On the way back from Lucca, shooting from the car as I often still do, this earthen berm with a.. …..what is that thing anyway… sticking over the top of the berm like a droopy schnoz, called out to me and made me laugh. The reason I think some photographs have a surreal feeling is that the world is surreal more often than we might think it is. Is this someone’s idea of art? Is it an industrial site with work going on behind the berm and the schnoz lets the gases out? Is it a lost wind sock from a nearby airport come to earth right there? Whatever it was, it made for a moment of visual excitement, a humorous few minutes of speculation, and the feeling that the world is always giving off unexpected pleasures. If you are willing to see it that way.
By the time we got home the day was producing its own set of miracles, besides arriving home safely. The Tuscan skies, almost as often as the skies over Ireland, produce rainbows of long duration which fall to earth in their own pot-o’-gold, wheat field landscapes. Maggie seems to me to be my very own pot-o’-gold, my good fortune at the end of the rainbow.
One day a year Maggie and I travel Once More Around The Sun and find ourselves on the road where we were married 14 years ago. It is a road enclosed by tall Cypress trees, male and female trees mixed together for the last hundred years, or more and whose shapes tell you the difference. The female trees are rounder, thicker, taller, and have small, round, fruited pine cones the size of chestnuts, all over them. The males are slender, not s tall and seem to bend in the wind easier. They certainly are the inferior looking part of the species.
We always go for a walk there at the time of day that we were married, around 6 o’clock. Some days it’s sunny, as it was on our day, and others, as in this image, cooler, clouded over, grayer. We have had it every way and it doesn’t matter what kind of day it is, it’s still our day, and we always make the most of what we are given. Which, as you may have heard me say before, is what is at the heart of the photographic experience; ‘make the most of what you have.’
I have often thought that habitual, ordinary gestures, create the encyclopedia of forms that define our states of mind, expressions, attitudes, etc. And from the subtle differences in the way each actor performs them we have unlimited opportunities to see them again and again, in ways that add freshness, maybe even originality, to the interpretation.
Here, at 60 miles an hour, the relaxed hand of the driver could have been in the same pose were he sitting at home on his couch watching the football game. However, as I passed him (my wife was driving) I noticed that in the overall grayness of the day, and the monochrome of the cab and its paint job, the fleshiness of his hand became the live element of the frame within the frame within the frame.
Small touches, almost nothings, can often be the telling moment that makes me alert to seeing, even while being in a moving car at 60 milers an hour.
The road offers so many opportunities to see what the world looks like from a moving car; the roadside, the machines that travel on it, the people that make their way along it, the landscape we pass by, moments that make us wish we could stay and become part of what we see, or not.
On the second part of the trip from France to Italy, the part from Camoglie to Buonconvento, lots of strange and beautiful moments appeared. Here are two that seemed to frame the trip. The one a yellow box on wheels, and the other the last 200 yards before we hit home. I know where I want to be.