Always, the unconscious is present, making this or that comment in our days, usually quite a bit ahead of our awareness. That’s part of the mystery, the fun, and the intrigue of making art.
But this picture made me wonder if there weren’t ways to build in a practice of less-conscious captures?
I mean something more than accepting that scrap of fabric that fell from somewhere and landed on a quilt, begging for inclusion. And I mean more than embracing a wicked mistake and owning it as part of a now-changed design.
I mean consciously building in a more random catalog. Anybody have any ideas about how to do this? Does anyone do this already (that they know of)? I’d love to hear.
The umbrella picture struck me because I shot it after composing a series of careful studies of the unfurling, magnificent hosta that line our sidewalk. I composed the way I usually do and had some thread of text forming in my head (something about the glory of spring and the changing tides of opinion — in this case regarding hosta — a pedestrian plant that I used to dislike, but now appreciate for its reliability and willingness to endure all kinds of stress — from rabbit-dining to cold shocks, mashing, and even clips by the lawn mower). As an afterthought, I snapped this dappled light and wet umbrella on my way in the door.
I liked this picture so much more than any of the careful shots, that I had to wonder what else I am missing by pointing my lens in predictable directions. The rake with its signs of recent bed-clearing, the umbrella still wet with a spring rain, and most of all, the dappled light… these elements collectively said “SPRING” better than my careful compositions. What ELSE am I missing by pointing my lens in ‘pretty’ directions? By deciding in advance what constitutes an image of something, in this case — spring?
And speaking of spring, here are some more shots of my neighborhood and front yard.
On the route where these pictures were taken I found a lovely hole-ridden grey piece of something – I don’t want to gross anyone out, but it is probably a piece of Kleenex.
More on that tomorrow! But here is a sneak peek: