TV – Commerce, Texas 2012
“The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.” Ansel Adams
I captured this image at an event in Commerce, Texas back in 2012. This was an opening at a small art gallery and I was there to document the festivities for the owners and featured artist. This image has always caught my eye and drawn me in. The boy’s expression, the shallow focus where the only sharpness exists in the text….yet another symbolic substitution for reality, work together to create a dream like quality in the image. Almost as if it is a rendition of a time so long past it barely retains a space on the outermost fringes of memory. The way the text, focus and boy work together evoke memories of my own childhood…I could be this kid. I was this kid, a long time ago.
I recall capturing the image, seeing the boy walking up to the window and feeling that something visually interesting was about to happen. I had time to make a few quick decisions before this moment passed and was able to open up the aperture and get the text that reads as “TV” in the photo where it is placed. The rest of it was waiting for the right moment to press the shutter button. In all I would say about 45 seconds to a minute passed during this time. When you hear photographers talking about getting in the right frame of mind to make images they are in part referring to getting yourself in what I call “photo vision” mode. In other words, you are seeing photographically and responding to events which unfold around you accordingly.
When we think of making photographic images in these terms the quote by Adams is driven home. If we are in a frame of mind in which we tell ourselves that the work we are doing is easy or even superficial, will we push ourselves to do our best work? Of course not. In fact, we have crippled ourselves and made true understanding of the process and its importance unattainable. We have led ourselves to creative disaster because we have closed our eyes and are no longer seeing. One of the reasons I love photography is because it taught me to open my eyes again and see wonder in the world and that is a great gift.