In Immortality’s Light,
- Sri Chinmoy
I went out yesterday with the intention of photographing this old church. It has seen it’s better days. The chimney bricks are falling down. The steeple is disintegrating. After years of vandalism the front doors have finally been boarded up and the only residents now are the pigeons who flutter around the church to stretch their winds and coo quietly when inside.
Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn like I usually do when shooting color I have found mid-morning or mid-afternoon are best for these black and whites.
This church like me is getting older and one day the only thing left of us will be memories. While driving for an hour to get to the church the mind has time to wander and imagine. I got to thinking that over forty years ago I would be up before the crack of dawn with one of my brothers or a friend, lunches packed, thermoses filled to the brim with hot coffee and driving down this same highway to go duck hunting. I haven’t touched a rifle in all that time and hunting like this old church is a distant memory.
The air was fresh and cool, just above freezing when I finally arrived at this spot. As I walked around the church the silence was peppered with the distant pop pop pop of hunters. Duck or goose hunting I am guessing. It seems that almost no one hunts anymore. There was a time when every pickup truck seemed to have a rifle rack above the seat against the rear window with a few shotguns in it. Store flyers would have shotgun shells on sale and we’d make our way to Woodward’s (a long gone department store in western Canada) to stock up on shells.
Times have changed. For better or worse? I dunno. Like this old church nothing lasts forever and sometimes all that’s left are the memories.
Photography for me is definitely NOT a group experience.
One of the great joys in my life is getting out by myself. Going where I want to go. Stopping where I want to stop and for how long I want to stop.
There are times while taking photos that it is almost a Zen like or spiritual experience. It’s being in the “zone” for lack of a better word.
I have never understood the idea of a few people getting together, cameras in hand and taking photos. I once drove by a photo tour/workshop by Hebert Lake in Banff National Park and it seemed to be the most uncreative atmosphere imaginable. The leader of the group, a short, bearded fellow was herding and directing his clients to better shooting spots and giving advice. Seeing that was my signal to move on and get far away from the group to find the solitude I experience when shooting landscapes.
Is this being anti-social? Probably but if I want to go out in the country with a group of people I would much rather be fishing or something like that where it is a shared experience. Photography for me is not.
Like the poem from Poe,
“As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—”
creativity has always been an individual act. As the old saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the soup”.
yet forever felt in the soul.
- D.H. Lawrence (Belief)
I went for a short ride in the country this morning after I dropped off one of my kids for university. I didn’t go for very long or very far before I stopped the dusty Rav4 and looked out at the horizon.
This is a new way of seeing for me. It’s a challenge. It’s new. It’s exciting.
I think I now know why I neglected my camera so often in the past year. I was bored. I needed a new reason to get out and start seeing all over again in a new way.
The accompanying words by D.H. Lawrence in a way reflect how I feel about this place. People drive by it everyday. It’s unremarkable and quickly forgotten but it somehow pulled me into the moment never to be forgotten.
This for me is new. I hope you find it a pleasant change from the usual.
“In the darkest part of the night
Blue shadows conjure you
And in the brightest height of
Sometimes I blink ’cause
I think I see you
Dreaming like you do”
- Lyrics by Joni Mitchell
I have only just started on this journey of my dreams.
Be my companion as I stumble and fumble along while trying to find my way through the light and dark places of my imagination.
Seven hundred plus posts in the trash. This isn’t an impulse decision.
My interest in photography and blogging about it has dwindled. It’s time for a new direction. Everything seems old and having been done a million times before.
New directions lead to new horizons, I hope.
It’s possible that I will re-visit this place so I will maintain a skeleton presence here on WordPress.