Untitled – Dallas Zoo – Dallas, Tx. 1997
‘Reading an image, like the reception of any other message, is dependent on prior knowledge of possibilities; we can only recognize what we know.’ ……. ‘the innocent eye is a myth’ ~ Ernst Gombrich
It had been another long day of grinding out photographs, this day found me at the Dallas Zoo. I had been studying Gary Winogrand and the zoo seemed like a good place to make images. You never know what will happen while out in public and being aware of things that are developing around you is important. This boy was with his mother and presumably his younger sibling who is in a baby carriage just out of frame. In fact, the boy is standing on the carriage. The brass rail was probably four to five feet off of the ground. His mother was digging in a tote bag for a bottle to feed baby and I saw the boy climbing the carriage, trying to get over the rail. Mom’s back was turned. I planted myself on one knee and framed the image while alerting the woman of the boy’s shenanigans. “Hey lady, your kid is climbing over the rail.”, I said. The hand came in and grabbed the shirt and this was unexpected. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had the presence of mind to make the exposure. I recognized myself in the boy. His curiosity, willful sense of adventure kindled something in me. It drew me in and the whole thing seemed natural and effortless.
Seeing photographically is a topic I will touch on time and again because it really is key to this process, especially when working in unpredictable environments with fast developing action. Moments happen quickly and are very easy to miss. Consistently capturing these moments rather than letting them slip away is the mark of someone who is seeing photographically and are prepared…….in the moment. Photography taught me how important being present and in the moment truly is. It has a funny way of making these (re) connections and that is one of many things I love about the camera and seeing photographically.