Dusk and Tree
I had to go to Milan for a show and talk. On the way the landscape whizzing by always has moments of surprising imagery. The 1000th of a second I shoot at in these situations still can’t always freeze what’s nearest to the camera, but things further away are not moving as fast so they are precisely defined.
I love the fragmentary quality of this kind of seeing and responding. It makes me extremely watchful for periods during every train trip I go on, because we never know what we might find interesting.
This new forest along the right of way was flickering by with light and shadows, and then I saw the opening with the scratchy lines in it, and the single white line in the distance. At 140 miles an hour there is barely time to register the event and make a shot. But I’ve learned to be in tune with this kind of seeing. That single white tree or pole, or whatever it was, seemed so beautiful to me!
Then, as the train pulled into the outer edges of Milan, structures, and the materiality of the outer edge of cities, begin to replace the simplicity of the countryside, and it always makes me realize how harsh an environment we all make, and then accept as a way of living.
This ‘way in’ to cities is evident all over the world now. A brutal form of ugliness in the architecture, and over it are scrawled the painted shouts of the minorities and immigrants who are pushed out there by the societies that accept them for their brute labor, but basically keep them penned up in these enclaves of sadness.
The politicians – everywhere – just don’t understand what should be done to make happy citizens, and yet it is right there in front of them.
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.
Reflection; the act of, not the image of, is a way of reconsidering where we are in relation to reality. Reflecting pools have for a long time been places where one could contemplate the difference between the illusion and the real. All we need is a small breeze to see the one fracture into a shimmering and fragmentary non image, while the other stays as it is. And then when stability returns we can match the upside down image to the real once again.
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.
I love being out early in the morning, especially on days when the change in seasons makes for atmospheric effects which are in play for about an hour until the heat of the sun dissolves their airy beauty. I walked toward the road I have photographed many times already (see it just 2 days ago) and it always offers new takes on itself, which is part of what I love about photography; the possibility to reconsider something in a new light.
I went down into the valley to see what being deep in the mist looked like, and made some photographs that had graphic markers as their starting point. Funny how that is sometimes; graphics or symbols don’t often interest me any more – having had a lot of them in my early years – but in this veiled space of fog and atmosphere, things near to me jumped out in a way that made them seem interesting again. I like being re-educated by what’s right there in front of me.